The time unit of a **compound meter** is divisible by three.

Some important things to remember about these measures are:

- We recognize compound measures because the numerator (the top number in the bar) is 6, 9, or 12.
- We get the note that occupies a beat by dividing the numerator by 3. For example, a 6/8 time signature has 2 beats.
- We add a dot to the notes that occupy a beat.
- The denominator (the lower number) indicates the note that occupies one-third of the time unit. For example, in a 6/8 time signature, the eighth note occupies a third of a beat, since a beat is occupied by 3 eighth notes or 1 dotted quarter note.

Meter | Beats | One beat | One measure |
---|---|---|---|

2 | |||

3 | |||

4 | |||

2 | |||

3 | |||

4 |

See Reading Music in the Tutorials section.