Music theory > Lessons > Duration of sounds > Time signature > 4/2 time signature example

4/2 time signature example

Explanation of 4/2 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 time signature 4/2 like this:

time signature 4/2

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

Beats on 4/2 time signature

1 half note half note (minim) (minim united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
2 quarter notes quarter note (crotchet) (crotchets united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
4 eighth notes eighth note (quaver) (quavers united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
and so on...

Examples found in famous works

Glareanus' Dodecachordon, Josquin des Prés

Here is an example of a 4/2 time signature, with the musical work Glareanus' Dodecachordon from the french composer Josquin des Prés (1450-1521), for two tenor recorders.

4/2 time signature is classified as simple quadruple meter: There are 4 beats per measure and each beat is divided by 2. The value of one beat is half note (minim).


You will notice the use of the note value called double-whole note (breve united kingdom) in the last measure of this musical sample.

Franz Schubert, Impromptu n°3

Franz Schubert's Impromptu n°3 in G flat major has two time signatures time signature cut timetime signature cut time, it is actually the same as time signature 4/2, there are 4 beats per measure and 1 half note equals 1 beat:


Royalty free sound sample recorded by Chiara Bertoglio (CC BY 3.0 license, source).

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