6/8 Time Signature

As you know the top number of the time signature tells us how many beats in a bar, the bottom number tells us the type of beats. A ‘4’ at the bottom tells us it’s crotchet beats, an 8 tells us it’s quaver beats. So 6/8 time signature tells us there are six quaver beats per bar.

When counting in 6/8 the quaver beat becomes 1, so we count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. We usually emphasize beats 1 and 4 so the result is two quick groups of 3, but sometimes it can also be three groups of 2. This interplay makes 6/8 quite interesting as a time signature. We find this interplay a lot in Spanish music and flamenco. For example at the start of Concerto Aranjuez by Rodrigo:


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