Never made sense of the difference between 3/4 and also 6/8 – or simply time signatures in general? We’ve acquired you. Don’t forget to take our brief listening quiz at the finish to test your ears!

If we’re reasoning purely mathematically, 3/4 and 6/8 have to be the same thing – leveling 6/8 and you obtain 3/4.

You are watching: Difference between 3/4 and 6/8

But, time signatures aren’t fractions – in music, 3/4 is something different from 6/8. (For a rapid refresher ~ above time signatures, check out our short guide to Rhythm Basics.)

Even despite both 3/4 and also 6/8 have six eighth note in each measure, the method we group them is what differentiates them.


Both 3/4 and also 6/8 have six eighth note in a measure, yet what separates lock is just how we team them.

In 3/4, we group the eighth note in twos, causing 3 solid beats in a measure – top top the quarter keep in mind beats.



In 6/8, we team the eighth notes in threes, causing 2 strong beats in a measure up – top top the dotted quarters.


In traditional music notation practice, we beam note in such a means that the first note of each grouping is the strongest.

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Try vocalizing the beats, maintaining the eighth notes at the same speed:“ONE and also TWO and also THREE and”“ONE and a TWO and a”

You’ll uncover that the feel of the two are totally different!

In conclusion, the difference between 3/4 and 6/8: we hear and feel 3/4 in 3, whereas us hear and also feel 6/8 in two. 3/4 has actually three groups of two; 6/8 has two groups of three.

Test yourself!

Can friend tell whether these songs are in 3/4 or 6/8? answers below. (Don’t scroll previous the image if you don’t want spoilers!)

We space The champion – QueenSlavonic run Op.72, No. 2 – AntonínDvořákAre friend Lonesome Tonight? – Elvis PresleyPiano guy – Billy JoelMy Favorite points – Julie Andrews
*

Answers: 2, 3, 5 are 3/4 while 1, 4 space 6/8

How did you do? it can acquire tricky once “ONE and also a” feels prefer a rapid “ONE two three”. Check out our guide to identifying time signatures for exactly how to decode this enigma!

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