Login

Duple Meter: Definition & Example

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Guitar: Parts & Theory

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Meter In Music
  • 1:05 Simple Duple Meter
  • 1:45 Compound Duple Meter
  • 2:55 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cathy Neff

Cathy has taught college courses and has a master's degree in music.

Sometimes, what we see is not what we get, and some meters in music are definitely that way. Learn about duple meters and the difference between a simple duple meter and a compound duple meter.

Meter in Music

Have you ever opened a candy bar and found two smaller bars inside instead of one big one? Meters in music can be like that sometimes; what we see is not always what we get.

A set pattern of weak and strong beats in music is called a meter, and it is represented by a time signature. The top number of a time signature tells how many beats are in one measure, and the bottom number tells what kind of note is counted as one beat.

Let's look at two common time signatures and what they mean:

duple time signatures

There are two basic types of meters: simple meters and compound meters. If the beat of a meter can be divided into two equal parts, it is a simple meter. If the beat can be divided into three equal parts, it is a compound meter.

A meter is also known by how many beats it has per measure. A meter with two beats per measure is called a duple meter, and the two types of duple meter are simple duple meter and compound duple meter.

Simple Duple Meter

Let's consider the simple duple meter in more detail. Every note in music can be broken down into smaller units called subdivisions. These are the most common subdivisions:

subdivisions

When the main beat of a meter is a note that can be divided into two equal parts, it is a simple meter. When a simple meter has two beats per measure, it is called a simple duple meter.

Here are some examples of simple duple meter:

simple duple

Notice that the last time signature in the above image looks like the letter 'C' with a vertical line through it. This time signature is called cut time and is read like 2/2, but it generally indicates a faster tempo.

Compound Duple Meter

Now let's take a closer look at a compound duple meter. Remember the candy bar we talked about? It had two pieces instead of one. Sometimes in meters, what we think should be a simple meter is actually a compound meter. The 6/8 meter is a perfect example.

The eighth note is the beat of the 6/8 meter, and since that eighth note can be divided into two equal parts, we would think that 6/8 would be a simple meter. But, that is not the case. 6/8 is actually the most common compound duple meter. Let's find out why.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support