rhythm and metre

rhythm and metre

Two aspects of the organization of time in music. Rhythm is the placement of musical sounds in time. Metre, like poetical metre, is usually a regular pattern of beats and provides the context in which rhythm is understood. In Western notated music, metre is indicated by means of a time signature—in which the lower number specifies the basic unit or subunit of the beat (e.g., 8 usually indicates that eighth-notes are the basic subunit) and the upper number specifies the number of beats in a measure—at the beginning of a piece or movement, and by the vertical bar lines that divide the piece into measures.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on rhythm and metre, visit Britannica.com.

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