Asked • 03/14/19

Relationship between 3/4 and 4/4?

I understand the meaning of music notations such as 3/4, 4/4 and so on. The first number is the number of beats per measure, while the second number is the note-duration (quarter, half, one-eighth) for each beat in the measure. **Does this mean that, a (hypothetical) music piece written as 3/4 with 4 measures in length can be expressed as 4/4 with 3 measures in length?** Note that in both cases, there are 12 beats. It seems to me that by just changing the position of bars a 3/4 music can be expressed as 4/4 music, as long the original 3/4 music had 4 measures or any multiple of 4 measures (such as 8, 12, 16 and so on). Is my understanding correct?

Michael L.

Even though you can divide 12 by 3 or 4, the important reason we use time signatures in a precise way is because of what beats are considered strong beats and weak beats within a measure. If you listen to any piece of music, all you really need are a few seconds to be able to perceive where the downbeat is. In popular music, the percussion section emphasizes this, but it's already inherent in the melody and harmony. Most popular music is in 4/4, but here's a link to songs in 3/4 so you can develop an ear for it:


4 Answers By Expert Tutors


Bianca B. answered • 04/08/19

New to Wyzant

Fun and Creative Voice and Music Teacher

John K. answered • 03/27/19

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Finger Picking & Flat Picking Guitar Teacher with 40 Years Experience

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