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2/26/2018 What is a 6/8 March?

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WHAT IS A 6/8 MARCH?

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What is a 6/8 March?


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A 6/8 march (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/) is a lively tune written in compound
time that is played with a palpable and de nite “swing” rhythm. Picture a pipe band marching
(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/) down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, playing a
sprightly 6/8 march (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/), with their kilts swinging to and
fro. That’s what we’ll be shooting for as we discuss 6/8’s.

While each beat of a “simple time” tune, such as a 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4, can be divided by two, in a compound
time signature each beat is divided into three parts. There are six eighth note values in each bar, and
there are two beats per bar.

Before discussing a 6/8, however, let’s review a simple 4/4 march


(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/), and then contrast the two di erent time
signatures. The rst line of Murdo’s Wedding is shown In Figure 1. The di erent note values in this
example have boxes drawn around them. Note that there are four beats in a bar, and a quarter note
value gets each beat. In this example, observe that there are quarter notes, eighth notes, a single half
note, dotted eighth notes, and sixteenth notes. A 4/4 march
(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/) rhythm is verbally expressed
(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/expression/) as “one and two and three and four”, with the
numbers on the downbeat, with the “and” representing on the upbeat.

(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/basic-4-4-notes-Murdo.jpg)

In contrast, Figure 2, which is the rst line of the classic Bonnie Dundee, shows how the note groups are
often arranged in a 6/8 march (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/).
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2/26/2018 What is a 6/8 March? - Dojo University

(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Bonnie-Dundee- rst-line.jpg)

The rhythm of a 6/8 can be verbalized as “one and a two and a” for each bar, with the downbeats on the
numbers “one” and “two”. Figure 3 shows the types of note arrangements found in 6/8 marches
(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/).

(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/basic-6-8-notes-2.jpg)

Typically, a 6/8 march (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/) has the following


components, shown respectively in the boxes above: 1) a quarter note followed by an eighth note, 2) a
dotted quarter note, 3) a dotted eighth note, a sixteenth note, and an eighth note, and 4) a sixteenth
note, followed by a dotted eighth note and an eighth note. Observe that each of the note groupings
enclosed in each box make up the equivalent of three eighth notes. It is very helpful to be able to
recognize these four rhythm patterns and to be able to play them properly.

Although 6/8 marches (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/) are not played as often as


2/4's in solo competition (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/solo-competition/), they are an
important part of any piper's repertoire. Certainly, good pipe bands always have a 6/8 set that can be
played on a moment's notice for big events, such as the bands' "march
(http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/) past" at the end of the World Pipe Band
Championship, or just marching (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/) down the Royal
Mile.

Take Action
2/4 Marches vs. 6/8 Marches (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/robert-mathieson-special-events-24-
marches-vs-68-marches-premium/)
The Art of the 6/8 March (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/marc-dubois-technique-development-the-art-
of-the-68-march-basic/)

(1125)

Related Posts:

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2/26/2018 What is a 6/8 March? - Dojo University

1. "What Is a 4/4 March?" (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/what-is-a-44-march/)

2. "What Is a 'Dotted' Note All About?" (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/what-is-a-dotted-

note-all-about/)

3. How to Use a Metronome to Learn a 2/4 March (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/how-to-

use-a-metronome-to-learn-a-24-march/)

4. How to Use a Metronome to Learn a Strathspey (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/how-to-

use-a-metronome-to-learn-a-strathspey/)

Related Terms:
Term: Expression (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/expression/)

Term: Solo Competition (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/solo-competition/)

Term: March (http://learn.dojouniversity.com/dictionary/march/)

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JOHN HOLCOMBE (HTTP://LEARN.DOJOUNIVERSITY.COM/AUTHOR/JOHN-HOLCOMBE/)

John began piping at the ripe old age of 55 years. Always liking the sound of the bagpipes, John grew up
in Oklahoma, where he never had a chance early on to experience rsthand this amazing instrument.
But after moving to Indianapolis, he had the great fortune in 2004 to begin lessons with Craig Waugh,
and Open Grade piper originally from Manitoba, Canada. Through that outstanding instruction, along
with annual attendance at Jack Lee’s Piping Hot Summer Drummer and being a founding and
continuing premium member of Dojo University, John has continued through hard work and

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determination to advance his knowledge and technical skills. As a retired research physician, John now
enjoys immersing himself in piping, and he is proud to have won several rst place medals in Grade 4
competitions in EUSPBA-sanctioned events. John’s current goal is to achieve the Grade 3 level of
competence.

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