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I am writing a bass part in 6/8 time. I'm not sure which is the correct way of notating the following rhythm, although I suspect bar 2 is easier to read. Is this a matter of opinion or is there a choice that is more correct?

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Since this is the part for only a single instrument, I would actually recommend a third notation, one that highlights the duplet nature of the second half of this measure:

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This notation is equivalent to both of your notations, but in my opinion there's less room for possible confusion.

But if this were, say, the left hand of a piano part (and thus you would want to clarify the relationship between the hands), I could imagine a situation wherein your second option would be preferred. If the left-hand E was a sort of lead-in to something in the right hand on the final eighth note of the measure, then your second notation may better show that relationship:

enter image description here

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  • Thanks! One follow up question: your answer implies that two duplet quavers are played exactly the same as two dotted quavers in 6/8. Is this always true?
    – yerman
    Jan 7 '21 at 18:07
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    @yerman Rhythmically, I would say that they are played the same. But there may be some added emphasis that a performer would give to the duplet notation just to highlight that it is a duplet. In other words, the second eighth note of the duplet may get a slight (almost imperceptible) accent. But an intelligent musician would know when not to give that accent if the musical environment didn't call for it.
    – Richard
    Jan 7 '21 at 18:10
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    @yerman I just found this question that you may find helpful. (And, full disclosure, the existence of that question may unfortunately make this one a duplicate.) But the top answer there may be a helpful resource.
    – Richard
    Jan 7 '21 at 18:15
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The 1st bar. The grace note itself takes up very little, if no time from the note it's attached to. So there's no need to take any time from the next note.

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