CUT COMMON TIME LESSON


Cut Common Time
In music, alla breve (Italian for: "at the breve"; also sometimes called cut time or cut common time) refers to a musical meter notated by the time signature symbol cut time (a C with a line through it), which is the equivalent of 2/2. Alla breve is a "simple-duple meter with a half-note pulse". Common time, notated with the time signature symbol C, is the equivalent of 4/4. So common time is 4/4 and cut time is 2/2. 4/4 would be 4 quarter notes where 2/2 would be 2 half notes.  As simple as it really is it is still sometimes hard to understand and I will try to make it simple.


Common time looks like this on the music staff.

 



Cut time will look like this on a music staff.


 

They both are the same tempo but the difference is in the beat hierarchy.
Common time has 4 quarter notes the beats are strong weak medium strong.


 

Cut time has two half notes and the beats are strong weak.

 

 

Cut time songs usually are at faster tempos.  2/2 is useful for notating very fast, complex passages. You can notate as half note, quarter note, eighth, sixteenth, where to do the same passage in 4/4, you would need Quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and thirty second.

The most important thing is having the ability to hear it. The best way would be listening to songs that are in cut time. A good country song example would be “Stay Here and Drink” by Merle Haggard. The song starts 2/2 and switches to 4/4 towards the end. Listen to it and you’ll will hear the change.

Cut time usually has a really good feel for soloing on guitar. Below is the tabs and practice track for the solo on the video.

 


Cut Time Solo- Exercise
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