Counting 6/8 Time
The commonest compound metre is 6/8.
A 6/8 time signature tells you that there are two beats in a bar, each dividing into three. Alarm bells may be ringing. If there are two beats in a bar, why is the top number a 6? If a dotted quarter-note is now one beat long, why does the time-signature have an 8 at the bottom?
The problem is that we can't represent a dotted quarter-note/crotchet as a simple fraction of a whole-note/semibreve. A dotted quarter-note is three-eighths of a whole-note and we'd be putting a fraction at the bottom of a fraction if we used that . . .
The solution is an understanding that, if the top number of the time-signature is a multiple of 3, we'll need to divide it by 3 to find out how many beats are in a bar. If the top number is 6, there will be two groups of three. If it's 9, there will be three groups, and so on . . . *
To count compound rhythms, we initially only need to acknowledge three subdivisions, and 1 + a 2 + a rolls off the tongue so clap, count & loop the following typical 6/8 rhythms -