# What Is Meter in Music?

ONE, two, three, four. ONE, two, three, four. Musical rhythm can be broken down into meters, usually denoted by a four or eight count in Western-style music. But what is meter in music?

Simply put, the meter of music is the pattern that the beat makes. These are usually made up of a series of stressed and unstressed beats, and meters come in three forms: simple, compound, and complex.

## Types of Meter in Music

### 1. Simple

If the music’s beats can be divided into twos, the meter is called “Simple.” For instance, if the 3/4 time signature comes with three quarter notes per bar, you can divide each note into two eight notes. That’s a simple meter.

### 2. Compound

If a simple meter can be divided into twos, a compound meter, on the other hand, each beat is divisible by three. For example, a 6/8 piece has 6 quavers. That implies that the quavers are grouped in threes, forming two dotted crotchet beats which is an indication that the piece is a compound meter.

### 3. Complex

As its name suggests, this type of meter is more complex. You can not divide the beats either by two or by three. Instead, it combines simple and compound beats together. For instance, a 5/8 time signature indicates a complex meter.

## What Is Measure?

A measure is defined as a single unit of time that features a specific number of beats. When reading music, each measure can be identified by the vertical bars at the beginning and end of the measure.

## What Is Time Signature?

While looking at sheet music, you will see two numbers stacked on top of each other, much like a fraction without the dividing line between them. Common examples are 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, or 3/2.

The way to read these numbers is to recognize the top number as the amount of notes in the measure and the bottom number as the type of notes in the measure. For example, 4/4 indicates there are four quarter notes in that measure. 3/2 indicates there are three half notes in that measure.

Now that you understand, “What is time signature in music?” it is possible to link it back to the meter. Again looking at the top number, it’s possible to identify the meter as simple, compound, or complex. A 4/4 time signature denotes a simple meter because four is divisible by two. A 6/8 time signature denotes a compound meter because six is divisible by three.