Conducting Advice

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by audleyshedbuilder, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. I am hoping that someone out there can help me. I've been looking at a piece of music which has a section in it where the time signature alternates for a few bars between 2/4 and 6/8, but the instruction at the top of the score at this point is quaver = quaver.

    How is the best way to conduct this? Should I try and alter my stick speed and stay in two, or should I conduct the 6/8 bars in 3 and keep the stick speed the same?
  2. Is it slow enough to conduct quavers for the 6/8 bars?
  3. Apologies, should have explained it's in March Tempo
  4. JR

    JR Member

    Stay in 2 - listen to the quaver pulse - one extra quaver per beat for the 6/8.
    Have a look at Philip Sparke's Tameside Overture - plenty of this in there - good practice for irregular beating and some great tunes.

    John R
  5. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I'd stay in two and alter stick speed. Conducting 6/8 in three is really confusing to the players, in my opinion. This is because, with standard stress patterns, the strong beats in 6/8 are 1 and 4, but if you're conducting the 6/8 in three then 4 is like an afterbeat.

    Now, if you had a situation where the music was written as 6/8 but the stress pattern looked like 3/4 (with explicit accents or maybe beaming the quavers in 2's instead of 3's) then conducting it in three might make sense. But usually if that's what the composer wants it would just be written as 3/4.
  6. this wont sound very technical but if the piece in question is like a march then i found that both myself when i conduct and also md's ive played under have used a very tight and strict beat for the 2/4 time sig. and a more loose and bouncy beat for the 6/8 time sig.

    I dont know whether that helps or not but good luck in sorting it out!
  7. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    Count the 6 quavers of the 6/8 empahsising the 1st and 4th then immediately count the 4 quavers of the 2/4 empasising the 1st and 3rd! Make sure you continue the quaver speed into the 2/4 bar! Keep alternating between the two and you should master it!
  8. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    You may want to try it using a metronome to get the feel right. I always had issues getting the time right in this kind of situation, I found that a few minutes "warm-up" with a metronome locked me in properly.

    Edit: I should have said to set the metronome to the quavers.
  9. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    If it's a march, then surely the quaver = quaver is wrong.

    Other wise for all of the six eight bars we'd be treated to the sight of soldiers mincing....
  10. MattB

    MattB Member

    Sounds to me like it should be written crotchet= dotted crotchet...
  11. It is definitely meant to be quaver = quaver. The piece is written in a march style, but in the conductors notes it explains that it deviates from standard march tempo.

    If it was crotchet = dotted crotchet it would distort the tune (which is a Christmas tune so familiar to even the most non-musical)
  12. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    What a thought! Try applying that one in your imagination to the Band of The Coldstream Guards or similar:tongue:
    Seriously though, if it's a march then the tempo of the beat has to remain constant. So I would suggest that the 6/8 bars should be treated as 2/4 bars containing 2 sets of quaver triplets
  13. If it's in march tempo, then you should really keep the baton at the same speed - crotchet = dotted crotchet

    Imagine marching to a piece with different beats!

    Especially on Whit Friday, mind you everyone would be too bladdered to notice
  14. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Except, in this case, the composer has specified that quaver = quaver. Therefore, you should conduct it properly, which is to keep the quaver beat steady.

    March tempo does not mean that the piece is a march to be used while actually marching. There are many "marches" that were never intended to actually be used on the march (there are marches with irregular time signatures like 7/8) - the term "march" is an expression of a particular type of musical form, not a description of when the piece is intended to be used.
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Edward Gregson's Festival March "Chalk Farm No 2" has 5/8 and 7/8 bars in it, and try checking out a couple of the pieces on Stavanger's cd "The Colour-Gobbler" ;)
  16. Oh, right. Come to think of it, there's some bars like that in March of the Cobblers.

    I've had a different idea - why don't you tap your foot or say the quaver speed? Then, bring the baton back towards you closer than normal. It gives more time for the baton to travel and shows everyone that something has changed (even though they SHOULD have noticed from the music). That's what I'd do, anyway

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