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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPedagogy(Moderators: JP, Doug Elliott) conducting patterns - 6/4
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timothy42b
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« on: Sep 30, 2009, 03:26AM »

Last year I pushed a conservative group's repertoire past 4/4 into 3/4, over some stiff initial resistance.  But we got there.

But last night I added a 3/2 piece.  It needs to be conducted in six, and I hadn't planned ahead.  I ended up uing a 4/4 pattern and repeating 3 and 4.  That worked okay but probably isn't the book solution. 

How do you all do it?  This is a musically naive group so sophistication will be lost.  But I like to do it right anyway. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 30, 2009, 04:02AM »

Big three with subdivisions is the textbook way.
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 30, 2009, 04:36AM »

Re the topic title: 3/2 is not 6/4, despite the algebraic similarity, just as 3/4 is not 6/8.

I was trying to find some examples of the way I was taught, which has all beats on the same plane, but there appear to be a lot of multi-planar conducting styles out there, and I don't want to link to one of those, so I'll just try diagramming where the beats go.

Code:
3/2 (beating quarters):           2 1  6 5       3 4

6/4 (beating quarters):         3 2 1  6       4 5
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 30, 2009, 07:49AM »

One of the problems with conducting this group is given the setup (constrained by the church architecture) there is limited vertical space.  My beat has to be up high, higher than I'd prefer, and any pattern segment that drifts too low isn't visible.  If I need more room I need to go wider rather than lower. 

The textbook subdivided three didn't seem to work, but I may practice it at home and give it another shot.  Yeah, I know 3/2 isn't really 6/4, but this is a group where most of them circle "their" note because they don't read.  Funny thing was, we got through the first two pages of this thing without getting lost, and it sounded pretty good. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 30, 2009, 06:40PM »

Big three with subdivisions is the textbook way.

This is the way I would want to see it.
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 01, 2009, 02:19AM »

Without getting too complicated i would suggest that you make beats 1, 5 & 6, in the 6/4 measure the same as you would make beats 1, 3 & 4 in the 4/4 measure, and for the rest it won't matter a great deal. But keep the down beat clear, make the 5th beat go out, and a clear up beat, and you will be good to go, and clearer than most!
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 01, 2009, 09:39AM »

Without getting too complicated i would suggest that you make beats 1, 5 & 6, in the 6/4 measure the same as you would make beats 1, 3 & 4 in the 4/4 measure, and for the rest it won't matter a great deal. But keep the down beat clear, make the 5th beat go out, and a clear up beat, and you will be good to go, and clearer than most!

Ah hah!

I don't think I'd have come up with that on my own. 

Yes, the more I picture this the more sense it makes.  Can't wait to try it.  It may not be textbook but it should tell them where beat one is, and warn them just before.  I like it.  I may just do circles on 2, 3, and 4. 
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« Reply #7 on: Oct 01, 2009, 10:25AM »

Without getting too complicated i would suggest that you make beats 1, 5 & 6, in the 6/4 measure the same as you would make beats 1, 3 & 4 in the 4/4 measure, and for the rest it won't matter a great deal. But keep the down beat clear, make the 5th beat go out, and a clear up beat, and you will be good to go, and clearer than most!

With all due respect, where beats 2, 3 & 4 go does matter quite a lot.
The big problem is making sure that there is a difference between 6/4 and a subdivided 3/2 otherwise the musicians being conducted will not know how to group the notes- 2x3 or 3x2-Listen to "America" from "West Side Story" to see the difference.

The way I have done it successfully for the past 40 years is:-

3/2, If this is a slow 3 beats per bar and has to be subdivided then add a little "bounce" to each of the 3 beats. So you have, DOWN, bounce, OUT, bounce, UP, bounce(flick). Make sure you keep the bounces in tempo. This way the important beats are 1, 3, 5 & 6.


6/4, (or 6/8 or 6/2), This is standard DOWN, in, in, OUT, out, UP. That way you get the big beats on 1, 4 & 6.

Looking back at the post, this is the same as BFW suggests. Don't forget that you are there to help the musicians and drawing circles will probably confuse them even more!

Cheers and good luck

Stewbones
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 01, 2009, 09:13PM »

A famous Pops conductor would simply do a circle. :D
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« Reply #9 on: Oct 01, 2009, 09:53PM »

A famous Pops conductor would simply do a circle. :D
:D absolutely. The famous (pops or classical) stare at somebody and wave the baton, usually in a circle. "It's your fault, not mine [I hope]"

Most of the time in professional orchestras I have been in, the conductor in rehearsal says "I will beat the 6/4 in 3" --translated from obscure conductor talk, that means he will conduct 2 3/4 patterns for each 6/4 measure. Occasionally, (very seldom) the pro conductor will do a subdivided 3/2 pattern.

I have only run into the elaborate 6/4 patterns in inexperienced conductors, community band nerds, and occasionally college conductors.

Most of professional conductors I have been around conduct 5/4 (5/8) in either a clear 3+2 or 2+3, and most of them have the dignity to explain what they will do. (Though they often go into the vague circle thing  Eeek!)

I guess that means you are on your own, let your "toe" be your conductor, as someone said (a laughable image, but a wise statement). And pray that everyone is following your toe, or you theirs. Either a recipe for success or disaster (usually disaster, somebody has to take the lead, and it is usually not anyone's toe but the collective "toe", hopefully the conductor's or the rhythm section's). I hope it works for you.
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 02, 2009, 02:44AM »

Let's not forget the often overlooked 7/8 pattern of:
one, two, three, four, five, six, se-ven Evil

Seen that more than once ;-)
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 02, 2009, 02:50AM »


Most of the time in professional orchestras I have been in, the conductor in rehearsal says "I will beat the 6/4 in 3" --translated from obscure conductor talk, that means he will conduct 2 3/4 patterns for each 6/4 measure. Occasionally, (very seldom) the pro conductor will do a subdivided 3/2 pattern.

I have only run into the elaborate 6/4 patterns in inexperienced conductors, community band nerds, and occasionally college conductors.

Most of professional conductors I have been around conduct 5/4 (5/8) in either a clear 3+2 or 2+3, and most of them have the dignity to explain what they will do. (Though they often go into the vague circle thing  Eeek!)



I have seen many conductors who conduct "6/4 in 3" and then do 2 3/4 patterns. Problem is, which of the 2 down beats is the first one? The subdivided 3/2 means that you are not getting the 2-groups-of-3 that you should get.
The conducting of 5/4 or 5/8 again causes downbeat confusion if the conductor does either 3/4+2/4 or 2/4+3/4.
You say that these are the ways that professional conductors conduct. I would assume that you mean when they are conducting professional orchestras who tend to know the music so well that they could play it without a conductor anyway. They would be able to stay together and play the music even if you put a traffic cop on point duty or the "table tennis player" who lands helicopters on aircraft carriers in front of them Clever Your average or less than average community group needs more help-usually as much as you can give them.

Regarding the use of "the elaborate 6/4 pattern" by inexperienced conductors, community band nerds and college conductors, I now have to work out which group I fall into.

i) Am I an inexperienced conductor? Well I was 40 years ago but I think that 40 years would get rid of the prefix in-! I consider myself to be an experienced conductor by now.

ii)Now that I am  retired I am not a college conductor any more either. Good college conductors however tend to do things the correct way because they know that they are training the musicians of the future and they need to learn things correctly.

iii)So I am a "community band nerd" am I? Actually I am a community ORCHESTRA nerd :-0 Eeek!

So what is a NERD? Someone who enters into the study of a topic and delves into the minutia of every aspect of it in order to gain as much knowledge as possible even though he will probably never use much of what he has learnt. Yeh, that's me and I suspect that many others on this forum would also fit into the category as happily as I do. But Nerds tend to be correct! This is why you keep asking questions on the forum.

JP, I suggest that next time you are in a shopping mall or at a filling station, you stop any random passer-by and tell them that you spend time on your computer talking to people all around the world about trombones and trombone related things. The look they will most probably give you will tell you whether you are a nerd also! Clever

Cheers

Stewbones
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« Reply #12 on: Oct 02, 2009, 03:46AM »

A famous Pops conductor would simply do a circle. :D

Yes, and to my embarassment I found myelf doing so as well part of the time.  While I always know what beat I'm on, I don't always know where my hand is!  But at all costs I give them beat 1 as a clean downbeat. 

Normally I can tell when they're getting lost because the number of them who are counting out loud rises.  But 6/4 is a challenge in that respect. 

Yes, I know 6/4 and 3/2 aren't really the same.  But I'll shape the line of the music for them irrespective of that.  At the current tempo beating quarter notes is what they need, and knowing where beat 1 is in a time signature they have never seen. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #13 on: Oct 02, 2009, 07:18AM »

JP, I suggest that next time you are in a shopping mall or at a filling station, you stop any random passer-by and tell them that you spend time on your computer talking to people all around the world about trombones and trombone related things. The look they will most probably give you will tell you whether you are a nerd also! Clever
I think you hit that nail right on the head  :D

I had a bass trombone student once who always had a pocket protector full of pens, a briefcase which also had a box of kleenex in it, and a bumper sticker on his 20 year old MG coupe that said "Nerd and proud of it!" He's probably on his way to becoming another Bill Gates.

Yes, I think the pro conductors conducting pros aren't worried about showing where beats are (downbeats or others), more about keeping tempos, showing cues, dynamics, and keeping things together. If you have ever seen Kurt Masur conducting, you would have no idea where any beat of the measure was, but the NY Phil seems to know.

And, I do conduct the "elaborate" patterns for student groups. Usually a subdivided 3 or the
     1 6
3 2      4 5.

'scuse me, I have to go replace the white adhesive tape holding my glasses together.  ;-)
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« Reply #14 on: Oct 29, 2009, 03:38AM »

This group is playing beyond my expectations and we may actually get this one near tempo.

But that will require moving from beating in six to three.  I tried it this week and had an outright mutiny. 

Suggestions? 
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« Reply #15 on: Oct 29, 2009, 05:19AM »

What piece is it?
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« Reply #16 on: Oct 29, 2009, 06:25AM »

Suggestions?

Subdivided three.  Then subdivided three with very light subdivision.  Then subdivided three with just a bit of a bounce on the half beats.  Then three.
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« Reply #17 on: Oct 30, 2009, 03:19AM »

What piece is it?

Handel's Allegro from the Water Music, arranged by Kellar. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6gUPW9Vsws

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« Reply #18 on: Nov 03, 2009, 07:11PM »

Subdivided three.  Then subdivided three with very light subdivision.  Then subdivided three with just a bit of a bounce on the half beats.  Then three.

Made some progress tonight.

A retired band director sat in tonight as a sub.  His comment was, "but this is in three."  Yeah, I know.  Gave it another try for his benefit, train wreck and a mutiny.  "If there's six quarter notes then there oughta be six beats." 

So I compromised.  I conducted in three while counting aloud in six.  Now over time I'll count more and more quietly until I disappear. 
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