I'm currently preparing music for a rehearsal and recording session, and I want my charts to be easy and clear to read without any problems.

I have a tune in 6/4 and am a little unsure of what looks best, or if there's a rule when it comes to quarter note off-beats in 6/4.

Here's 2 examples, the top is notated with ties, and bottom is notated with off-beat quarter notes:

example of syncopated rhythm notated with ties

example of syncopated rhythm notated with off-beat quarter notes

  • I’m not an expert but I personally prefer the second by a long way. If you have a reason to do the first, I strongly suggest breaking the beams also… although I guess I’m not sure the best way to break them. Jan 16, 2023 at 13:04
  • Thanks mate! Yes I agree after looking at them both. Jan 16, 2023 at 13:07
  • And you mean breaking the beams as in not having them beamed with 5 8th notes? I'll see if that can be done in Sebelius. Jan 16, 2023 at 13:08

2 Answers 2


In both cases showing the 4th beat with an imaginary bar line is the way to go. You did it at times but not consistently. The beamed 8ths look strange with the ties. If you want to use ties like in the top example show every beat like in my circled correction, otherwise there is no real reason to beam them. The bottom one is cleaner and players are not going to complain about off beat quarter notes if they can see beat 4. Bar 34 also needs the same correction.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Awesome mate, thanks so much, I've made these edits and it's looking heaps better! Jan 17, 2023 at 0:04

Neither of your solutions is optimal although the second one is better.
In 6/4 the middle of the bar (i.e. between the third and fourth quarter) should be visible. So you should take your second solution and split the B in the first bar with a tie (as in your first version). Similarly for the C in the second bar and the B-flats in the fourth. The third bar is already good.

Also, don't forget to give the sax player a transposed part.

  • Great, thanks so much for that, I've got a quite a lot more of this in my sibelius file to correcr now, just having to go back through it now and I might post it once I'm done. Jan 16, 2023 at 14:09

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