I have always been told that the difference between 3/4 time and 6/8 time is that 6/8 time has two beats per measure and 3/4 has three beats per measure.
However, other than people telling me this, I see no way that someone would be able to know this just by looking at the music.
For instance the following example seems like it should be played identically:
Is there any way to distinguish the difference between how 6/8 and 3/4 music should be played other than just somehow knowing that one usually has the emphasis on two beats in a measure and one on three beats per measure?
Similarly, with cut time and common time, is there anything identifiable (without listening to the song) that differentiates the time signatures?
Looking at the above, I would think:
2/2 means two half notes per measure, which can be divided to four quarter notes per measure, which could be reduced to eight eighth notes per measure, so we are still in 4/4.
I personally count quarter notes and eighth notes and 16th notes as (1 2 3 4) vs (1 + 2 + 3 + 4) vs (1 e + a 2 e + a...) respectively but unless someone were hearing me count while playing, how would he or she know that the piece is in 2/2 vs 4/4 vs 8/8?
When looking at the second image, I would think one of two things:
- The bar line should be after the first four eigth notes (because that would be two beats) or
- "Okay, I see 8 eighth notes. I am going to count each measure as "1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +" (because that is how I count eighth notes)"
but this would be wrong because I should only count up to 2 (two beats per measure) so instead I'll count
(1 e + a 2 e + a) but this is also wrong because that would imply we are in 8/16 time.
So I do not see a valid way to count this. I would very appreciative if someone could explain this to me.