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All the patterns then evolve from this basic two-beat pattern. The first beat of the meter or measure is always down and the last beat (the last beat indicated) is always up.

Sing, Be Glad for the Lord is Our God can be used to practice conducting the two pattern.

The three pattern

The pattern for three beats in a measure is given in figure 2. The conductor is reminded to be sure that the third beat is in an inward and upward direction and does not become lazy. This is the beat that amateur singers will tend to rush, causing rhythm and tempo problems.

Evensong can be used to practice conducting the three pattern.

The four pattern

The four-beat pattern is shown in figure 2. In the four pattern, beat two goes to the left rather than to the right as in the three pattern. Again, one is reminded to be sure that the downbeat is given its place of importance at the center of the base of the conducting plane. Some four patterns are described as having all beats occur on the same level except for beat four. It is felt that this will blur the distinction of the downbeat. Therefore, the second and third beats are described as being slightly higher than the downbeat.

Shenandoah can be used to practice conducting the four pattern.

The six pattern

The six-beat pattern has been conducted in two different patterns for some time. Both patterns are given in figure 3. Both of these patterns are used widely by conductors. Figure 3a is most often referred to as the German six pattern. Figure 3b is usually labeled the French six pattern. The latter has certain advantages, particularly when 6/8 alternates between six beats and two beats. Pattern b differs further, in that: (1) beat four, usually the secondary beat in a 6/8 measure, receives a gesture of commensurate strength; (2) the last beat of the measure is a very weak beat and here only receives a small gesture, whereas the pattern in figure 3a has a very large motion accompanying the last beat; and (3) this pattern (3b)can be easily modified to become a two-beat pattern, most desirable for those pieces in which a conductor alternates between six and two beats in a measure.

Which of the two patterns is used will depend upon the personal choice of the conductor. This decision will be based on the type of music being conducted and how comfortable the conductor is with the pattern.

The following excerpt from Gladly For Aye We Adore Him by Lekberg can be used to practice the six pattern.

GLADLY FOR AYE WE ADORE HIM, By Sven Lekberg, Copyright 1972 (Renewed) by G. Shirmer. Inc. (ASCAP) International Copyright Secured, All Rights Reserved

The nine pattern

The nine-beat pattern is a modification or subdivision of a three pattern. The fourth beat of the nine pattern is not as far to the right as the two beat of the three pattern, allowing the indication of beats five and six with ease. The pattern in figure 6 also allows a conductor to transfer from nine actual beats to three beats, which occurs in some instances.

The twelve pattern

The beat pattern for twelve beats in a measure is shown in the second example, in figure 6. This pattern is used when a conductor actually indicates the twelve beats in a measure. There are many occasions when 12/8, for example, is actually conducted as a four pattern. The 12 beat pattern in the second figure, in figure 6, is a modified four pattern with two smaller gestures after the principal beats.

The two added beats after the downbeat are made to the conductor's right, so no more than three consecutive beats will be given in the same direction. This division of the downbeat is opposite of the division of the nine-beat pattern for just this reason. The nine pattern is a modification of a three pattern since its second principal beat is to the right, the added beats to the downbeat must be to the left.

Questions & Answers

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nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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Source:  OpenStax, Choral techniques. OpenStax CNX. Mar 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11191/1.1
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