I am in a music theory class and this is my first time every expericening it and its hard no doubt. But the one thing that is just tripping me up the most is 6/8 time and how to write in it.

I have to do an assignment where I write 16 unique rhythmic measures in 6/8 time and Im not going to be able to do it.

To make matters worse it is an online class and my choir teacher has no time to help me. I am really depserate, any help would be great. Thank you!


2 Answers 2


Just think of 6/8 time as each bar containing six quavers, grouped naturally as two blocks of three quavers.

In order to get a number of different rhythmic patterns taking up a full bar, try ideas like these, where I use "c" for crotchet, "q" for quaver, and "s" for semiquaver:

q q q q q q (six quavers)

c q c q (two crochets and 2 quavers)

q q q c q (1 crochet and 4 quavers)

c q q q q

s s q q s s q q

s s s s q s s s s q

s s q s s s s q s s

etc. etc.

It is better to avoid having a crochet span the middle of the bar, so avoid combinations such as q q c q q.


If this is only a problem with an assignment, just write out 6 eight notes (grouped as they taught you), and then for the next 15 measures substitute any combination of eight notes for pairs of sixteenth notes. That by itself should give you something like 64 different unique patterns (including the plain 6 eight notes). For example

 8   8   8     8   8   8
 8   8   8     8   8   16
 8   8   8     8   16  8
 8   8   8     8   16  16 
 8   8   8     16  8   8
 8   8   8     16  8   16


Of course, these patterns will not be musical just like that, perhaps boring and artificial I would say.

In fact, despite a completely valid solution, it feels more like cheating or abusing the problem formulation rather than learning music. Nevertheless, it is enough to buy you time to meet with your choir teacher if you really need it.

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