Music theory > Lessons > Duration of sounds > Time signature > Difference between 4/4 & 2/2 time signatures

Difference between 4/4 & 2/2 time signatures

Frequently, student in music theory ask this question: Difference between 4/4 and 2/2 time signatures?

I will answer at this question in this article.

Strong and weak beats

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Strong and weak beats in a 4/4 time signature


strong and weak beats in a 4/4 time signature are allocated like this:

Beat #1 : Strong beat
Beat #2 : weak beat
Beat #3 : Semi strong beat
Beat #4 : weak beat

As if said louder the underlined number in the sentence 1 , 2 , 3 , 4

Strong and weak beats in a 4/4 time signature


strong and weak beats in a 2/2 time signature are allocated like this:

Beat #1 : Strong beat
Beat #2 : weak beat

As if said louder the underlined number in the sentence 1 , 2

Example of different interpretation of strong and weak beats

Let's take the melody excerpt from Les Sauvages written by the french composer Jean-Philippe Rameau.

With a 2/2 time signature and with corresponding strong and weak beats, it will result in this below:


But with a 4/4 time signature and with corresponding strong and weak beats, it will result in this below:


Do you ear the difference of interpretation corresponding to the difference of strong and weak beats?

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