I am playing an accompaniment for a choir on piano with one song in 6/8 and another in 4/4. The choir insists that I shouldn't leave a gap between the two songs and I should try to play continuously. Any suggestions for the transition I shall be playing?

Clarification: The 6/8 song ends with a C chord and the 4/4 starts with an Fmaj7 chord.

  • Is a fermata acceptable? i.e. Can you hold the last chord of one song then start playing the next song?
    – Dom
    Sep 17, 2014 at 1:59
  • @Dom I have already tried that but the choir said it was too simple.
    – krismath
    Sep 17, 2014 at 2:16
  • 2
    The key change is going in a better direction, up a fourth, so that's good.What we don't know is how long the last bar of 6/8 will last. One oft used idea is to take two bars at the new tempo/key, a I and a V. If you are also in the role of M.D., it should be down to you. To go directly into the F song (sounds appropriate...) then YOU count them in, maybe after one or two bars' gap in silence. Or everyone can count in silence, if they don't want simple.
    – Tim
    Sep 17, 2014 at 9:55

2 Answers 2


Metrically, I'd start breaking each three of the 6/8 into two dotted 8th notes, increasingly emphasizing the new rhythm. You could do this either in the melody first (I'm presuming that to be in the right hand), or you could continue with the melody or chords in the right hand while shifting the left hand's rhythm in this way beneath it.

Eventually, the dotted 8ths will be the 4 quarter notes. You can transition your tempo as needed (speed up or slow down to match the second piece).

During this you can introduce a Bb to your C chord and swell dynamically in anticipation of a key shift to the F major of the second piece. If your segue takes time, you may want to hint toward the F before adding the Bb, to give the listener a taste of leaning F-ward and further set up the shift.

  • Of course everything depends on the tempo and the specifics, but generally I would expect it to be much simpler to convert 6/8 beats into 4/4 beats, so two bars of 6/8 merges into one bar of 4/4. Jun 7, 2015 at 4:15

I suggest that you play the last bar of the first song, then immediately play the introduction of the second. Or don't bother with an introduction, as long as the singers have time to take breath. C and F are closely-related keys. You wouldn't baulk if a song in C moved directly to an F chord (how would it do it NOT directly?). Don't over-think this. They don't want a gap, but they ARE two different songs, in different tempos. At some point the music will have to change. Just do it!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.