Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Differences between 6/8 and 12/8 time?
QUESTION: Dear Sir,
I'm trying to write a ballad in the 6/8 time. But I am confused about this point. In some music sheets that I saw, they are also written in the 12/8. These two sounds very similar to me.
Could you pls explain?
ANSWER: Hi Kevin :
6/8 and 12/8 time are similar in that the basic pulse is divided into 3 parts ( as opposed to 2 parts or 4 parts as in 4/4 time ). This also applies to 9/8 time as well. The basic difference between the 6 and 12 are the number of basic beats per bar ( 2 in 6/8, 4 in 12/8 and 3
in 9/8 ). The choice of which one to use is usually influenced by the harmonic rhythm ( RATE of chord change) In practice, both 6 and 12 are used somewhat interchangeably by composers. That being said, I'd probably write a ballad in 12/8.
Not to cause confusion, but you should also be aware that in some music , the basic pulse also subdivided by two as well -this is common in some latin music:
I want to LIVE in a- MER - I- CA. 3-3-2-2-2 ( one bar of 12, two bars of 6 )
Brubecks "Blue Rondo ala Turk " is written in 9/8 but subdivided into 2-2- 2-3 .
Hope this helps ! :)
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Wonderful reply. May I ask this related question?
I have a Tyros 2, which is fairly expensive. But apparently the styles for this keyboard only has 6/8. I have not yet found the 12/8 styles.
Is this common for other keyboards as well? Have you seen the 12/8 styles in other keyboards?
I don't know much about the prre-programmed drum grooves on any keyboards beacuase I don't use them ( I usually program my own drumm grooves ) However, in my Finale notation program drum groove app, there is a selection called "12/8 ballad", so I'd assume something similar should be easy to find.
Otherwise, you could program your own -set up a 12/8 sig and quantize to triplets:
closed hi hat on all 12 beats
cross stick on on 4 and 10
bass drum on 1 6 7 12
this will give you one bar of 12/8 -repeat as needed and add fills ??
Since I don't know what your song needs, if the 6/8/ pattern works for you, there's no reason not to use it.
Good Luck !