Quadruple, Duple and Triple Time

Quadruple, Duple and Triple Time

Grade 2

A quick recap of the current understanding of our time signatures, is that the top number signifies the number of beats per bar, and the bottom number is the type of beat per bar, as in this example of 4/4 time:

4/4 Time Signature explained

New Time Signatures

Before we look at Quadruple, Duple and Triple Time it would be useful to explore the new time signatures needed for grade 2.
These are 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 and 3/8 time:

Grade 2 Time Signatures

As before, the top number is the number of beats in each bar, whilst the bottom number is the type of beat in the bar.
When the bottom number is a 2, it means the beat type is a minim. Therefore, the time signatures with minim beats are made up as below: All Minim Time Signatures

The next time signature is 3/8 time.
In this instance, the 8 means quaver beats. Therefore 3/8 explained is below:

38 Time Explained

We’ll come back to these time signatures later in the lesson, but for now we’ll look quadruple, duple and triple time.

Quadruple, Duple and Triple Time

The terms quadruple, duple and triple time are used to describe time signatures.
Quadruple Time
Quadruple time corresponds to time signatures that have four beats in a bar. So the time signatures 4/4 (4 crotchet beats in a bar) and 4/2 (4 minim beats in a bar) are both in quadruple time.
Triple Time
Triple Time corresponds to time signatures that have Three beats in a bar. So 3/4 (3 crotchet beats in a bar), 3/2 (3 minim beats in a bar) and 3/8 (3 quaver beats in a bar) are in triple time.
Duple Time
Duple Time represents time signatures that have Two beats in a bar. So 2/4 (2 crotchet beats in a bar), and 2/2 (2 minim beats in a bar) are in duple time.


The rules for beaming remain the same within the new time signatures.
As before, the notes are normally beamed to signify either each beat, or each strong/weak beat. In 2/4 and 3/4 time, the first beat is the strongest beat in the bar, and so it is possible to beam across all the beams.
3/8 and 2/2 likewise have a strong first beat, and the remaining beats are weaker, and so the notes can be beamed across all the beats in 2/2 and 3/8, or can be beamed to signify each beatindividually.
In 3/2 and 4/2, however, beaming all the notes together would lead to an excessive amounts of notes beamed together (and to a lesser extent semiquavers in 2/2), and so notes are normally beamed together in these time signatures to signify the individual beats in the time signatures.

Bringing it all together

A final point to mention, is that we also have a time signature known as ‘cut’ time:

Cut Time Signature

Cut time signature is like common time, but with a vertical line through it. It is the same as 2/2 time.

Therefore, having covered all the new time signatures and their type, let’s summarise them all:

Time SignatureBeats Per BarType of Time
22 Time SignatureCut Time2 Minim Beats per barDuple Time
24 Time Signature2 Crotchet beats per barDuple Time
32 Time Signature3 Minim beats per barTriple Time
34 Time Signature3 Crotchet bears per barTriple Time
38 Time Signature3 Quaver beats per barTriple Time
42 Time Signature4 Minim Beats per barQuadruple Time
44 Time SignatureCommon Time4 Crotchet beats per barQuadruple Time

It is good practice to be able to examine a piece of music and to identify what time signature it is in, and to also be able to write in bar lines. Both are good analytical skills for understanding music and writing music, and will aid you in developing a deeper understanding of time signatures and rhythm. Both are skills you will be tested on if you are doing a Grade 2 exam.
As such, the next lesson go over how to answer questions like this, and then there will be exercises as usual to aid you in securing your understanding of them.


(Worksheet is for part 2 of time signature lesson, available here)