Meaning of time "signature"?
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Hi, why is it called a time “signature”? Is there a historical reason for the word “signature”? Anyone got any ideas?
I wonder if it has something to do with the root “sign” and the signs that were used (like common time).
According to multiple dictionaries, one definition of the word signature is a distinctive mark or characteristic used to identify someone. Seems logical to me that use of the word since it identifies a distinctive time or beat pattern. That was an interesting question. Thanks.
I always liken it to our signature. I tell kids that our signature identifies us and that a time signature identifies how the music will pass through time.
You have received historical answers; however, I have a practical answer/comment on how I teach time signatures. Edwin Gordon suggests that you call it a meter signature because it tells you the meter and elementary-aged students seem to understand that terminology better.
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