4.2 Beat Patterns – 5 & 6

So far we’ve looked at beating patterns for 1, 2, 3 & 4 – these are pretty universal. The more beats there are in the measure, the more options there are. Some conducting teachers get very worked up about this and insist on specific rules, but at ConductIT we prefer to give you as many options as possible. 

One thing we will bring to your attention comes from the great Finnish conducting pedagogue, Jorma Panula. One of his fundamental rules is that the orchestra must know where the first beat of the measure is. The longer the measure, the more important this becomes.

Here’s a short video which shows some different ways of beating five and six.

The Promenades from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition are an excellent way to practise switching between five and six beats in the measure – many a famous conductor has dropped a few beats in these! We have included versions of three of the Promenades so that you can practise these beat patterns in different styles and characters.

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