Can I get an illustration on how a choir master can conduct a piece of music written in 6/8 time? Thanks.
In conducting course I attended, we were taught four patterns. It depends on tempo and which beats are stressed.
- If the tempo is fast and 1st and 4th beats are stressed, you conduct like 2/4 (on the stressed beats).
- If the tempo is fast and 1st, 3rd and 5th beats are stressed, you conduct like 3/4 (on the stressed beats).
- If the tempo is slow and 1st and 4th beats are stressed, you conduct every beat in this way: down (and outside), inside, inside, outside, outside, up.
- If the tempo is slow and 1st, 3rd and 5th beats are stressed, you conduct every beat in this way: down (and inside), inside, outside, outside, inside (and slightly up), up. (It is like 3/4, but you make two beats in one direction.)
Of course, there are also different patterns, but for rare situations.
In concert band, I've seen slow 6/8 time - or slow 6/4 time - conducted like 4/4 time, except with an extra flick of the hand at Beats "2" and "3" of the 4/4 conducting pattern. The conducting pattern for slow 6/8 time therefore looks like this from your point of view:
Down -> Left -> Flick -> Right -> Flick -> Up
Fast 6/8 ended up getting conducted like 2/4 time, except with the "upstrokes" of 2/4 time being transferred to beats 3 and 6 of 6/8 time.
I have no reason to believe that choir masters conduct differently, especially since I've also been in 2 school choirs.