How to annotate tempo for cut-time?


Senior Member
Hi folks, quick question here...

I like to indicate tempo on my sheet music, so I'll generally just write a quarter note = xx bpm at the top of the page.

What's the correct way to do this with cut time? Do I write the quarter note tempo as the tempo after time is cut, or before?

For example, the exercises in Stick Control are written as 8th notes in cut time, but they are played as 16ths. So if I'm playing the 16ths at 100 bpm, do I indicate the tempo as 100bpm, or as 200bpm (since I'm actually playing 8th notes at 200bpm, which is kind of how it's written).

I hope what I'm asking makes sense.


Platinum Member
Tempos are marked according to the beat, and in cut time the beat falls on the half notes, so you mark the tempo as "half note = xxx".


Gold Member
For cut time you normally put the "C" for the time signature. It really depends on the tempo how its best notated, but for cut time its normally "half note = xx"

For your Stick Control example. You'd say half note = 100 bpm... four written eighth notes per beat... equivalent to sixteenths.


Gold Member
I was under the impression that C meant "common" time or 4/4.
You're right, I just forgot to mention the vertical slash. Sorry.

To take a concept from the other time signature thread going on.. I think a general rule is that the expressed tempo should be relative to the expressed beat denomination in the time signature.

4/4 - tempo should be expressed in quarter notes
7/8 - tempo should be expressed in eighth notes
2/2 - tempo should be expressed in half notes

EDIT: Ah, that's pretty much exactly what toddbishop said. ok..