Three notes over two beats

Posted by: Akira

Three notes over two beats - 10/03/08 12:42 PM

Three notes spread equally over one beat is called a triplet.

What is three notes spread equally over two beats called?

In the past, I've done this by "feel", but was curious...

If you were counting, how would you count these (three notes over) two beats. They don't seem to fit into the standard pattern of...

1, 2, 3, 4

1 &, 2 &, 3 & ...

1 & a, 2 & a, 3 & a ...

1 e & a, 2 e & a, ...

I've come across this more than a few times and was just curious if there is a name?

My teacher was unable to answer either question. \:\(
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/03/08 12:46 PM

It's still a triplet. The first example, 3 notes over 1 beat, is an 8th note triplet in 4/4 time (or any time signature with 4 on the bottom). The second example, 3 notes over 2 beats (in same time signature) is a quarter note triplet. In this case, you are fitting the quarter notes in the span of a half note. You always look at the value of the triplet notes (i.e., quarter notes) and understand you are trying to fit 3 of those notes in the value of 2 of those notes. Half note triplets would be 3 half notes over the span of a whole note (or two half notes). I hope I explained that well enough. \:\)

**edited to add: As far as counting goes, it is always a bit harder when dealing with values larger than 1 beat. Generally, what I do is play it as a slower version of a triplet within 1 beat. You can count using "1-trip-let". Or if you have an 8th note triplet in the RH with two 8th notes in the LH saying "not diff-i-cult" with the RH playing on syllables "not" "diff" and "cult", and the LH playing on syllables "not" and "i". Again, for triplets over 2 beats, it would be the same proportion of RH to LH, but longer. I've never learned a more precise way of counting this.
Posted by: Pete the bean

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/03/08 11:38 PM

Quarter note triplets gave me a hard time when I first encountered them. Here is how to count them:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/suc9qe
Posted by: Sal_

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/04/08 01:36 AM

as far as doing it "by feel," I had a band teacher tell us that they have the same rhythm as arpeggios after a scale. Thank you for asking how to count. Before I've always broken it down as the link showed, but that's kind of brain-power consuming.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/04/08 02:34 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Akira:
If you were counting, how would you count these (three notes over) two beats. They don't seem to fit into the standard pattern of...

1, 2, 3, 4

1 &, 2 &, 3 & ...

1 & a, 2 & a, 3 & a ...

1 e & a, 2 e & a, ...

I've come across this more than a few times and was just curious if there is a name?

My teacher was unable to answer either question.
If I saw this:

1 &, 2 &, 3 & ...

1 & a, 2 & a, 3 & a ...

I would call it two against three. There are many methods to solve the timing problem.

But this:

1 & a, 2 & a, 3 & a ...

1 e & a, 2 e & a, ...

I would call three against four. The problem is not what it is called but how to solve the timing problem.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/04/08 03:15 AM

Why not just imagine that the triplets fit into the next largest note value? I.e. 3 eighths fit into the time value of 1 quarter. 3 quarters fit into the time value of 1 half, etc. I find that a lot easier, and it means the same thing.

I always wonder if this is some kind of a leftover from the older music which prompted mensural notation. The "sacred" music divided shorter notes into three and used the symbol for gold. The "profane" music divided them into two and used the symbol for silver. Divisions or multiples of 3 of shorter and longer note values just seems straightforward to me.

Does anyone else think that way? Is there a potential problem?
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/04/08 03:39 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
It's still a triplet. The first example, 3 notes over 1 beat, is an 8th note triplet in 4/4 time (or any time signature with 4 on the bottom). The second example, 3 notes over 2 beats (in same time signature) is a quarter note triplet. In this case, you are fitting the quarter notes in the span of a half note. You always look at the value of the triplet notes (i.e., quarter notes) and understand you are trying to fit 3 of those notes in the value of 2 of those notes. Half note triplets would be 3 half notes over the span of a whole note (or two half notes). I hope I explained that well enough. \:\)

**edited to add: As far as counting goes, it is always a bit harder when dealing with values larger than 1 beat. Generally, what I do is play it as a slower version of a triplet within 1 beat. You can count using "1-trip-let". Or if you have an 8th note triplet in the RH with two 8th notes in the LH saying "not diff-i-cult" with the RH playing on syllables "not" "diff" and "cult", and the LH playing on syllables "not" and "i". Again, for triplets over 2 beats, it would be the same proportion of RH to LH, but longer. I've never learned a more precise way of counting this. [/b]
I like this idea of counting triplets and playing three against two.

I too have always tried to figure out a way to count the longer note valued triplets!
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/04/08 12:15 PM

Since Akira never came back to clear up some points, I'm still not sure what she was asking!
Posted by: Sal_

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/06/08 12:27 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:

**edited to add: As far as counting goes, it is always a bit harder when dealing with values larger than 1 beat. Generally, what I do is play it as a slower version of a triplet within 1 beat. You can count using "1-trip-let". Or if you have an 8th note triplet in the RH with two 8th notes in the LH saying "not diff-i-cult" with the RH playing on syllables "not" "diff" and "cult", and the LH playing on syllables "not" and "i". Again, for triplets over 2 beats, it would be the same proportion of RH to LH, but longer. I've never learned a more precise way of counting this. [/b]
I like this idea of counting triplets and playing three against two.

I too have always tried to figure out a way to count the longer note valued triplets! [/b]
But that still isn't 3 notes over two beats combined with 4 notes over two beats... I think I've broken it down into 12 subdivisions over X beats, which is divisible both by 3 and 4.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2|1 2....
|______|_____|______||...
|____|____|____|____||...

(Hope the formating works.) Kind of a mess, but that would be the technical answer. If you want to approximate, "not dif-i-cult" would be pretty close (judging by playing on 4/5, just one on 7, and then on 9/10.) Maybe if we use "not dif-i-cult" and then delay the triplet just a bit for "dif," and make it a little early for "cult." It could work and is certainly less taxing on the brain.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/06/08 03:27 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Sal_:
But that still isn't 3 notes over two beats combined with 4 notes over two beats... I think I've broken it down into 12 subdivisions over X beats, which is divisible both by 3 and 4.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2|1 2....
|______|_____|______||...
|____|____|____|____||...
Mathematically there is no other solution but to find the common denominator, and it is 12.

The number of "beats" doesn't really enter into the solution.

There is another solution which is intutive, and here is an example.

Suppose you are working on something like Chopin's Fantasy Impromptu. Begin with a logical approximation. Play the first LH note with the first RH note, which is correct. Play the second in the middle of the second and third notes in the RH. Play the last note of the LH with the last note of the four.

This is the best solution with a common denomitator of 6, and the LH is most definitely wrong, but it will be close.

For each set of four 16ths in the RH, the left hand will be doing this:

Dotted 16th (3 32nds), another dotted 16th (3 32nds) and finally a 16th. This short-changes the final LH note, and there will be a noticeable limp to the LH. The last note will also conincide with the RH, which is wrong.

However, once you have gotten this feel, you may be able to move the other notes, by instinct and ear, to the correct mathematical location.

If you reverse the patterns, and you can do this with any set of four notes in one hand against three in the other, the RH will have the triplet, and it will limp. This time you just concentrate on keeping the LH going evenly, while adjusting the RH slightly so that it stops limping.

For me 3 against 4 ends up being a "feel", and all the mathematical tweaking in the world is not what I actually do when I try to get it to sound right.

For a feeling of what it works out to be, try this…

RH C E G C G E, repeat over and over
LH C E G Bb C Bb G E, repeat over and over

This keeps both hands within an octave. Try getting both hands together, then try recording. If you finally get them even enough so that you can listen to either hand, on playback, and neither one is noticeably limping or stuttering, you have it.

For me this is the acid test:

Chopin Trois Nouvelle Etude No.1 in F minor

If you can play this right, you will probably never play anything with three against four that will not work.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/06/08 06:18 PM

Well, 4 over 3 is easy..or rather "not ver-y diff-i-cult"

Assuming RH 4-16ths and LH 3-8th note triplets: With RH & LH on "not", RH on "ver", LH on "y", RH on "diff", LH on "i", RH on "cult". \:D
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/06/08 06:54 PM

That's a sixth division, not a 12 division.

Most people will end up with something like:

1--(and)--2--and--3--and--4 (and)
x---------------x----------x---------

It's a good approximation, to start out with, but it still limps until people get the "feel" to adjust the LH to what is actually more mathematically correct.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/06/08 10:18 PM

I prefer to think it gets someone to the place where they can be more musical.
Posted by: Tony.S

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/06/08 11:28 PM

The principle of 3/2 is easy isn’t it – you just play three notes evenly on one hand while the other plays 2 … since the left and right hand notes line up on the first beat and line up again on the third beat … it should be no problem right? I think people have trouble with this one since you really need to listen and (IMHO) you can’t rely exclusively on counting since it’s too complicated.

What I do is play the left hand (the 2 beat rhythm) evenly by tapping my foot to every second beat, I then play the 3 notes on the right evenly matching my foot … seems to work for me at any rate - but you do need to listen to ensure everything stays even.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Three notes over two beats - 10/07/08 12:35 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
I prefer to think it gets someone to the place where they can be more musical.
Semantics—I'm sure I'm after the same thing you are, playing that sounds even and expressive. ;\)