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Understanding Cut Time

Cut Time Doesn't Have To Be Confusing!

Lisa Witt - Jan 29, 2019

Cut Time!


What is it, why does it exist and how do you make sense of it? Cut time is the time signature that uses 2/2 as the time signature. You may also see it represented like this:




Cut time means you can have two half notes per measures or what is equal to two half notes in each measure.


So why 2/2 and not 4/4? Because in 2/2 time the beats feel larger! In 4/4 you have four beats that feel strong, weak, medium and weak.  In 2/2 all you have is a strong and a weak beat.


People tend to get mixed up when they are playing in cut time because they are used to a quarter note equaling 1 beat. In order to be successful with cut time you need to reset your brain to move all the note values backwards. Two now equals 1. I know, it is a little confusing but let's break down common note values in 2/2 time


Half Note = 1. Feels just like a quarter note does in 4/4 time.

Quarter note = ½ a beat. This means that they feel like 8th notes do in 4/4 time and you can count them 1 and 2 and etc.

8th notes = now feel like 16th notes so you will want to count these 1 e and a 2 e and a.

This lesson will give you some visual examples of cut time so that you can see them and then clap along with Cassi as you get a feel for it! Then you can play new pieces in cut time with confidence.




#Music Theory

#piano technique

#Time Signatures


#Cut Time

Hi, I'm Lisa Witt

Lisa has taught in a variety of settings from beginners just getting started to recording artists preparing their songs for the road. While her background is classical, she loves helping students play the music they love by ear and is excited to be a part of YOUR journey.