How can I rewrite this? What I did wasn't right, so I was wondering if there was another way to rewrite it. It's in 6/8.

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    Is the bottom answer your solution, and it was marked wrong? It looks perfect to me! Perhaps your instructor just made a mistake when grading?
    – Richard
    Oct 25, 2021 at 10:44
  • @Richard yeah it was my answer and it was marked wrong. hmm im not sure if he made a mistake cause this happened before, and i actually had to change some stuff. but yeah ive also been told this is also correct
    – silvy1051
    Oct 25, 2021 at 11:20
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    It's imperative you discuss this with the person who marked it. Especially showing them Richard's answer. That way, they can explain why they thought it was wrong, and which of the alternatives they favoured - and why.
    – Tim
    Oct 25, 2021 at 12:35
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    If you do discover why the answer was marked wrong, please come back and let us know. You said "this happened before, and i actually had to change some stuff": what precisely happened, and what did you have to change?
    – phoog
    Oct 25, 2021 at 13:17
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    @phoog yes I got the answer from Richard, i had to change the quarter rest into 2 eighth notes. I dont think my teacher wants us to use quarter rests in 6/8 time, not sure why but maybe it's just to see the two divisions?
    – silvy1051
    Oct 26, 2021 at 2:33

2 Answers 2


Hmm. As I mentioned in the comments, your answer looks perfectly correct to me:

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I could potentially imagine someone suggesting you break the initial quarter rest into two eighth notes, but in my experience this is unnecessary and too cluttered:

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The only other possibility I can imagine for 6/8 is if they are requesting vocal notation, where we typically don't beam the notes together unless they are to be sung with the same syllable. As such, something like this may have been intended:

enter image description here

Otherwise, if this was to be written in 6/8, your given solution should be correct.

  • I'd go so far as to say that anyone suggesting breaking either the initial rest or the eighth-note beams of the last half of the measure is not just cluttering up the measure but is objectively wrong, perhaps suffering under the impression that "the eighth note is the beat" (see comment on question). Oct 25, 2021 at 12:50
  • @AndyBonner from (as far as I'm aware) the advent of beaming until the latter part of the 20th century, vocal music was beamed according to the syllabification, so as not to have to use slurs to specify text underlay. (Text-underlay slurs are frequently misinterpreted by singers and conductors.) This is surely what Richard means by "vocal notation," and, if the problem was posed in this context, it's certainly not objectively wrong to use flags instead of beams.
    – phoog
    Oct 25, 2021 at 13:14
  • @phoog Right; the exception "unless the assignment happens to have lyrics" stands. I was just doubling down on the hypothetical teacher who wanted to break up the rest or the beams for no other reason. Oct 25, 2021 at 13:29
  • Not all singers prefer unbeamed notes — at least, this singer hates getting lots in a maze of twisty little separated quavers and semiquavers, all alike…  (And every time I've seen that, the slurs have been on the notes, not on the text — where it can be confused with a lyric tie, combining several syllables into one note, e.g. for Italian.)
    – gidds
    Oct 25, 2021 at 14:12

I'd think that if this 6/8 were to be "in three", then the first quarter-rest is fine, and then the next two eighth notes should be barred together, and then the two sixteenths and the last eighth.

If it's "in 2", then the first eighth should be separate, and the rest barred-together. Replacing the quarter-rest by two eighth-rests might be helpful, and consonant with the situation, and I'd do it, but I don't think it's mandatory... :)

If I didn't know whether it was to be "in two" or "in three", then I'd not know about optimizing the notation.

  • 2
    If it were in three it would be 3/4. 6/8 should be assumed to be in two. That's the primary difference between the two: 3/4 is counted 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, while 6/8 is counted 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Oct 26, 2021 at 12:24
  • @JohnKugelman, in my experience, this is not universally the case. For that matter, if in-three 6/8 would be converted to 3/4, in-two 6/8 could just as well be converted to 2/4 or other. I've seen some "modern classical" music that was all in 6/8, but the interpretation of in-two or in-three varied, often after a few measures. I think it's good to be aware of the possibilities, rather than say something never happens. Oct 26, 2021 at 16:51

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