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OT - time signatures - international terminology

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:42 pm
by Andreo Basisto
Greetings all

I hope you’ll allow me a non-Finale question. I am currently working on a music terminology in Esperanto. Concerning time signatures, I’ve always classed them as either ‘simple’ or ‘compound’, but a Polish colleague doesn’t accept that. In Poland time signatures are either ‘simple’ or ‘combined’. They are all based on 2 beats or 3 beats, so, for example 4/4 is a combined 2/4 + 2/4; 6/8 is a combined 3/8 + 3/8.

It would be good to find out which of the two systems is the most widespread in the world.

Many thanks in advance!

Andreo Basisto

Re: OT - time signatures - international terminology

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:11 pm
by motet
Never heard of "combined." In any case, you perhaps still want to distinguish between what most people call simple and compound, which it looks like the Polish system doesn't do.

Re: OT - time signatures - international terminology

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:43 am
by HaraldS
Andreo Basisto wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:42 pm
In Poland time signatures are either ‘simple’ or ‘combined’. They are all based on 2 beats or 3 beats, so, for example 4/4 is a combined 2/4 + 2/4; 6/8 is a combined 3/8 + 3/8.
This is not necessarily a typical polish terminology, but merely describes the historic origin of time signatures, which derive from the proportions in mensural notation (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensural_notation).
Whether you prefer "compound" or "combined" is a matter of taste.

Re: OT - time signatures - international terminology

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:11 am
by motet
If 4/4 is "combined" as Andreo said, it's not just a matter of taste.