First some music terminology that will be helpful

A time signature is a notational device used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats (or pulses) are in each bar (or measure).

These are western musical concepts, however most West African drum rhythms can generally be notated as either a either 4/4 ("Four-four") or 6/8 ("Six-Eight") time signatures.

4/4 time means 4 quarter-notes (Or "Crotchets") per measure and 6/8 means 6 eighth-notes (Or "Quavers") per measure.

These 2 signatures give completely different feels to the rhythms. There are limitations to this because of the complexity of traditional rhythms but they are useful in most cases.

There are other time signature outside the 2 mentioned above. For example, if you're counting quarter notes, for example in 4/4, to a steady beat (say the ticking of a clock) you would count it with the "ticks" of the clock:

1...2...3...4.../1...2...3...4... etc.

If you were in 4/8 at the same tempo, you'd count twice as fast:

1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8../1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8.. etc.

So the 1, 3, 5 and 7's would be with the tick.

That's all need to know about time signatures for the moment. If you have any questions or feedback we'd love to here from you.

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