Quadruple meter


Audio: quadruple meter (0:08)

Quadruple meter
Figure: quadruple meter

quadruple meter plays two bars of 4/4 on a power drum kit followed by two bars of 12/8. The quadruple meter figure shows the score. The first rhythm is simple quadruple meter, 4/4, and the second is compound quadruple meter, 12/8.

Quadruple meter is a meter with four primary beats. It is really a version of duple meter but, because it is the most commonly used meter in music, it has its own label. It is also called common time.

Quadruple meter demonstrates the subtle effect of accent on a rhythm.

The bass drum and snare drum play alternate beats. They can be interpreted as two different rhythms:

  1. ONE-two-THREE-four with the accent on the bass drum; or
  2. one-TWO-three-FOUR with the accent on the snare drum.

Determining which beat is the accented beat is a matter of perception not fact. Some people will tap their feet or clap their hands to the bass drum, others to the snare drum. The technical difference between the two is that the first rhythm is unsyncopated whereas the second is syncopated.