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I have been transcribing a piece in 6/8 time which has two voices. I am worried that it is difficult to read the rhythm and was wondering if there is any other way to format this to make it clearer. Is this a matter of opinion or is there a "correct" way of doing this?

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    Welcome to Music.SE! If I get a chance I’ll answer, but otherwise someone else will certainly give you a detailed rundown of what you need to do. But for starters, you would be better not using ties in the top part. And the bottom two voices need the stems reversing (lowest pointing down, middle pointing up). Jun 8 at 21:09

2 Answers 2

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Let’s start with the elephants: The two voices in the bottom staff have their stems in the wrong direction, and using a tied 8.+16+8 instead of a simple 4. is not really optimal. Then you should try to align the middle voice to the beat structure. Also I suggest not to use 8. 8. in 6/8 of division in two but rather duoles. But then one might argue that may you want to notate this in 2/4 and use triplet for division in 3.

See here two examples of how I would lay something like this out:

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  • I actually wonder if these music should be written in 6/8 measures followed by 3/4 (in twice faster tempo) instead? Jun 8 at 21:49
  • @user1079505 I’m not sure how you mean this, but generally both compound meters and changes of the metric unit increase the complexity by a lot, and a combination of both probably won’t make the whole thing more readable.
    – Lazy
    Jun 8 at 21:53
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    @user1079505 Ah, I just got it, so you’d go for a classic hemiola. I’d say it depends on the character of the piece.
    – Lazy
    Jun 8 at 22:22
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Just to add one other option to Lazy's two, the need for tuplets could be eliminated by writing the passage in 12/16. Stopping short of recommending this (12/16 can be awkward to read), it's an illustration of the flexibility of time signatures, beaming, and ties.

Passage written in 12/16 meter

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  • Hm, I would very much prefer a beat structure like 8. 8. 8 8 8 here (so a classic hemiola). This current way the middle voice is stupidly hard to sight read (because the notation implies some complexity it does not actually have). Also in my answer there is no need for tuplets, but I encourage their use, because they are tools specifically made to specify different division of units, which is the thing we are actually doing here.
    – Lazy
    Jun 9 at 7:21
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    Why tie the C# and Bb (treble) instead of using crotchets?
    – Tim
    Jun 9 at 7:21
  • @Lazy I would have used 8 8 8 except that I chose to err on the side of keeping the sixteenth rests present in the original.
    – Aaron
    Jun 9 at 7:38
  • @Tim That would have been perfectly reasonable. I found it easier to see all four beats this way.
    – Aaron
    Jun 9 at 7:39
  • @Aaron You can keep the 16th rests of the original in 8 8 8 perfectly fine (then you’d have a tied 16th, a 16th rest and then two 8ths). I might just be more specific than the OP intended it to be.
    – Lazy
    Jun 9 at 7:41

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