Music theory > Lessons > Duration of sounds > Time signature > 4/4 time signature example

4/4 time signature example

Explanation of 4/4 time signature

In the article time signature, this is explained that:

- the top number indicates the number of time units in a measure (bar united kingdom).
- the bottom number determines the unit of time.

We can visually translate 4/4 like this:

time signature 4/4

That is to say that there are 4 quarter notes quarter note (crotchet) (crotchets united kingdom) per measure and the unit of time is the quarter note (a beat corresponds to one quarter note):

Beats in 4/4 time signature

1 quarter note quarter note (crotchet) (crotchet united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
2 eighth notes eighth note (quaver) (quavers united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
4 sixteenth notes sixteenth note (semiquaver) (semiquavers united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
and so on...

Examples found in famous works

Mozart, Piano Sonata K545

W.A. Mozart's Piano Sonata K545 begins with a time signature 4/4 time signature:

Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major K. 545 Mozart

You will notice the use of an Alberti bass in this musical sample in C major.

Vivaldi, Autumn, The Fours Seasons

The movement entitled Autumn from The Fours Seasons by Vivaldi uses the time signature C time signature ( time signature C is the abbreviation for time signature 4/4).

The Four Seasons (Autumn) by Vivaldi

You will notice the two half-cadences (imperfect cadences united kingdom) in measures 3 and 6, and the authentic cadence (perfect cadence united kingdom) at the end of this musical sample in F major.

Schubert, Ave Maria

Schubert's Ave Maria, originally titled Ellens Gesang III, Hymne an die Jungfrau is composed with the 4/4 time signature:

Ave Maria by Schubert

Royalty-free arrangement for violin and guitar (source, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license).
You will notice the use of arpeggios in sextuplets in this musical sample in B flat Major.

Dvořák, "From the New World", Largo

The second movement (Largo) from Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No.9 Opus 95, also known as "From the New World", uses time signature C (shortcut for time signature 4/4), and it is one of the most famous solos for the english horn:


This musical sample was recorded in 2012 by The DuPage Symphony Orchestra's (source, CC BY-SA 3.0 US licence).

Ravel, Pavane for a Dead Princess

Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess) by Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) begins with a 4/4 time signature. Here is an musical sample arranged for piano, I strongly advise you to listen to the version for symphony orchestra because it is one of the most beautiful horn solo:

Pavane for a Deceased Infanta by Ravel

Frédéric Chopin, Nocturnes Opus 48 n°1

Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne Opus 48 n°1 in C minor, uses the 4/4 time signature:

Nocturno n°1 opus 48, Chopin

This royalty-free musical sample was recorded by Luke Faulkner (Source, Public Domain 1.0 license)

Pachelbel's Canon

Pachelbel's Canon also uses the 4/4 time signature:

Pachelbel's Canon

Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata

Piano Sonata N°14 ("Moonlight Sonata") by Beethoven also uses the 4/4 time signature:

Piano Sonata No. 14 (Beethoven) Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven

You will notice that Beethoven uses superposition of ternary rhythms (triplets) and binary rhythms (dotted eighth note / sixteenth note) which gives this piece a feeling of strangeness and instability.

Bach, Aria BWV 1068

The Aria from J.S. BACH's Suite No. 3 in D major BWV 1068, uses the 4/4 time signature. Here is a royalty-free musical sample recorded in 1954 by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by George Szell (Source, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license):

Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068 by Johann Sebastian Bach

Mozart, The Magic Flute

Mozart's Overture to The Magic Flute (in E flat major) uses the 4/4 time signature:

The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart, Introitus from Requiem

The introduction to the Requiem in D minor K. 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart uses the 4/4 time signature:

Introitus from Requiem, Mozart

This royalty-free musical sample was recorded in 1951 by the Wiener Philharmoniker orchestra conducted by Josef Krips (source, Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license).
You will notice the Adagio indication, and the use of basset horns in the instrumentation.

Brahms, Sonate in E minor opus 38

The first movement Allegro non troppo from Cello Sonata N°1 in E minor, Opus 38 by Johannes Brahms uses the 4/4 time signature:

Sonate in E minor opus 38 Johannes Brahms

This royalty-free musical sample was recorded by Wendy Warner on cello and Eileen Buck on piano (source, CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license).

You will notice the indication Allegro non troppo, and the piano that plays exclusively offbeats.

Find all my music theory games by clicking this link music theory games
music theory games

Comments

Write a comment

Your comment comment will be manually validate.

Your name/pseudo (needed) :


Email (optional) (needed if you want to be inform of a reply):


Image/photo (optional) (JPG, JPEG, PNG ou GIF) (image concerning your comment):

Javascript should be activated