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A sign at the beginning of a composition or movement, placed after the key signature, to indicate its time or meter. Also called rhythmical signature. It is in the form of a fraction, of which the denominator indicates the kind of note taken as time unit for the beat, and the numerator, the number of these to the measure.
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Webster, Noah. Entry for 'Time Signature'. Noah Webster's American Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​web/​t/time-signature.html. 1828.