Music theory > Lessons > Duration of sounds > Time signature > 9/8 time signature example

# 9/8 time signature example

9/8 time signature example, with explanations and sound samples of famous works by famous composers.

## Explanation of 9/8 time signature

In the article time signature, this is explained that:

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

We can visually translate like this:

That is to say that there are 9 eighth notes (quavers ) per measure.

But, what is not indicated in the time signature is that can to a simple meter measure or a compound meter. In the article simple and compound meter, you learned that:

- Simple meter (or simple time) is a meter where each beat in a measure can be subdivided by two.
- Compound meter (or compound time) is a meter where each beat in a measure can be subdivided by three.

A beat with 9/8 time signature can be divided by two or three, it depends on the context.

Here are the beats for a simple meter measure:

In that case (simple meter):

- 1 eighth note (quaver ) equals 1 beat
- 2 sixteenth notes (semiquavers ) equals 1 beat
- 1 dotted quarter note (dotted crotchet ) equals 3 beats
- and so on...

Here are the beats for a compound meter measure:

- 1 dotted quarter note (dotted crotchet ) equals 1 beat
- 1 dotted half note (dotted minim ) equals 2 beats
- 3 eighth note (quaver ) equals 1 beat
- 6 sixteenth notes (semiquavers ) equals 1 beat
- and so on...

In the vast majority of cases, a 9/8 bar is a 3 beats compound measure, where each beat equals a dotted quarter note (dotted crotchet ):

## Examples found in famous works

### Debussy, Clair de Lune (moonlight)

The movement entitled Clair de Lune (moonlight in French) from Suite bergamasque by Claude Debussy use 9/8 time signature:

This royalty free sound sample was recorded by Caela Harrison (source, Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license. You will notice the use of duplets.

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