Changing Number of Beats in a Single Measure

I have found that sometimes a measure just sounds natural if you add an extra beat, or even two extra beats. Like if you are in 4/4 timing, you change one measure to 5/4 then the very next measure you go right back to 4/4. I usually use this when I am trying to connect two phrases. It can be done whenever but I’ve found that is when it is most natural for me.

An exact example of what I mentioned above is in my arrangement of Nearer, My God to Thee in measure 8.

Maybe you’ve been writing your own song and you are just starting to write out your music, watch to see if you even do it naturally–it might trick you when you are trying to get it out on paper.

So, try out extra beats, they might add just the right touch you are looking for in your piece.

Photo: Pencil by Dave Rutt

One thought on “Changing Number of Beats in a Single Measure

  1. I just found your website through and I’m so grateful that I did! You have such good advice for composers just starting out (like me) and I have so much to learn! Especially about music theory. So thank you so much for sharing!

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