Music Theory Education


1. Irregular Time Signatures

1. Irregular Time Signatures

Grade 5. lesson 1 Irregular time signatures

Irregular Time Signatures

The most common irregular time signatures are those containing five beats, and
those containing seven beats.

Five beats are (quintuple time) Seven beats are (septuple time).

more info on irregular time signatures


Counting beats in irregular time signatures

irregular time signatures

  In previous grades we looked at irregular time divisions in the form of 'triplets' and 'duplets'.

  We are now looking at further forms of irregular divisions. An irregular rhythmic group is one which
  does not correspond with the 'normal' division into 2's or 3's.


  Here is an example of some irregular groups, where the group of  5,  6,  7, would be played in the
  time of one crotchet (quarter note).


Irregular Groups of 5. 6. and 7.


  Higher numbers like  9,   10,   11,    13,   15  notes are written in the values appropriate to '8'
   of the same kind.

  This example of '9',  replacing 8 demi-semi-quavers  (  32nd notes )   in 2 over 4 time signature.  

 group of 9 demi-semi-quavers

  When the time signature represents the minim beats, 9 semi-quavers (16th notes) will be used.
  Notice the group of 6 quavers (8th notes) in bar two representing a minim (half note).

group of two minim beats in irregular time


  The table below is a guide for the irregular divisions which you may find in grade five.

 Division chart


division chart for irregular time


1. Irregular Time Signatures



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