# How many slashes in 6/4?

I created a slash region in 6/4, and it’s showing 6 slashes.

My understanding is that, like 6/8, 6/4 is a compound meter in two beats. Each beat is a dotted half.

Is there the option of specifying that I want 6/4 to be 2 beats, not 6? I want to display 2 slashes per measure.

Slashes typically represent quarter note values, that’s why there are six of them in a 6/4 bar; and that’s why there are dotted slashes in 6/8 bars (and alternatively, depending on the accentuation/subdivision, there could be three slashes in a 6/8 bar) because these are based on eighth notes. Hence, it doesn’t make sense to have two slashes in a 6/4 bar.

Three slashes in 6/8 time is incorrect because it would imply 3/4 time, although certainly there are some occasions when that might be necessary within 6/8 time, but usually only for a short period of time. Dan is right about compound time, and generally the beat is a dotted half note in 6/4 time, one would assume that the slashes would follow suit.

And there’s an option in Dorico to show or not show dots on slashes in compound time, so that implies that they represent beats, not note values.

Indeed 6/4 is a compound meter but in pop/jazz (wich is when slashes are used anyways) the 6 pulses are usually “counted” and at a somewhat fast tempo.

And yet, slashes represent quarter notes, which is why they can have dots in eighth-note based meters but not in any other basis.

I’m still inferring that they should represent beats, not note values.

12/x = 4 beats
9/x = 3 beats
6/x = 2 beats

Dorico is displaying slashed correctly in compound time based on the dotted quarter beat, but not for larger values. This may be by design, but I would like to be able to change it. Whatever slashes might represent, they ought to include the option to consistently represent them as the actual beats.

Hmmm … I don’t want to pretend a level of expertise here that I don’t have, but as a drummer I would normally only recognise 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 as compound time. 6/4 would normally be interpreted in a pop/jazz context as 6 quarter note beats per bar. Indeed earlier this summer I did a drum transcription in Dorico of a composition by acclaimed jazz bassist Derrick Hodge which was in 6/4 and definitely not compound time.

I hear ya. But did you feel that 6/4 in a big 3, or a big 2? From a music theory perspective, 6 is 2. 3/2 and 6/4 both have six quarter notes, but the former is in 3, and the latter is in 2.

At least there should be an option to make slashes represent beats and not subdivisions, even if it’s not the default.

Every symmetrical meter is felt in either groups of three or groups of two.

Ah yes, I do see what you mean. I guess the song in question feels a little like each bar of 6/4 is a little bit like two bars of 3/4, so it is sort of felt in two. For the slashes, I really suppose it depends on what the intended feel is. As a drummer from a jazz background if I saw a chart in 6/4 with two slashes per bar I would interpret it very differently to six slashes per bar. (And the six slashes would be my default feel if it wasn’t specified.)

Maybe the slashes should follow how the meter was originally entered, so if you enter [3+3]/4 you get two slashes per bar, and if just enter 6/4 normally you get six slashes per bar. (Maybe Dorico already does that? I’m not in a position to test right now.)

It does not yield a different result, unfortunately, but I appreciate the suggestion!

Hi Daniel and team, just circling back around to ask if this could be revisited: that is, for a slash region in 6/4 to be able to have two slashes per bar. Thanks.

I’ve made a note of this and we’ll take a look when we get a chance.

So you want it to look like m1 below, not m2 correct?

I think you would run the risk of someone just playing dotted half chords there, instead of freely comping. If that’s what you want, I would leave stems attached rather than hidden. If you wanted them to comp freely you could tell them verbally at rehearsal, but I don’t think m1 is as clear as m2. Just my \$0.02.

No, I would want it to look like it does in 6/8.

Like bar 1 below?

That seems like a pretty unique way of notating 6/4. I actually don’t think I can recall ever seeing it notated that way. Is there a specific publisher or style guide that uses that style? Can you post a link? It seems particularly confusing considering bar 2 is a very common rhythmic figure encountered in 6/4.

Whether I want 2 or 6 is tempo dependent.