Triplets and Notation

Posted by: Gary001

Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 06:48 AM

I've only encountered one piece with a triplet so far and I'm not sure if I'm playing it correctly, so before I form an incorrect habit can someone shed some light on the timing of triplets.

If the counting for two eighth notes in 4/4 time is "1 and" and a triplet is "3 notes in the space of 2", would the counting then be "1 e and"?

That's how I initially thought the timing would work, however if that's the case, doesn't it mean the first 2 notes in the triplet are shorter in duration than the 3rd? Which leads me to believe my timing is incorrect. In fact, wouldn't that counting suggest two sixteenth notes and an eighth?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 07:15 AM

I think of triplets as being three of them that fit evenly in the space of the next largest note value. So three eighth note triplets fit evenly into the space of one quarter note. I've heard some people say things like "cho-co-late" or "mi-ni-mum" or any other 3-syllable word.
Posted by: wj3

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 10:38 AM

I was taught to use "1 ta ta, 2 ta ta"
Posted by: Manndrew

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 11:12 AM

Gary, my take on this is similar. If I have a measure with two triplets and two eighth notes my counting would be: One-and-a, Two-and-a, three-and, four-and. The triplets get the One(or Two)-and-a and the eighth notes get a three (or four)-and count. My tendency would be to accent the first note of each triplet, but give them equal duration of time.
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 01:31 PM

Yes, to the metric counting for everyone who likes using it.

But if you have problems in keeping steady beats, it is possible to do a different, I think greatly improved counting system involving note values.

For instance: the above measure in Manndrew's post, could easily be counted like this -

chocolate, chocolate, ti ti, ti ti

TA TA TA TA
0 0 0 0 (clap)
1 2 3 4
These (0) are steady beats (quarter notes TA's) they equate to four beats stablizing the counting.

The payoff is that you have used only two words "Chocolate" and "ti" to count with.

The counting word in every case is equal to the length (the duration) of each note symbol.

Some people love doing music math to meetric counting which is very important in ensemble work, but a pianist with 88 keys to play and only 10 fingers, needs something more simple to pulse with.

If you want to know how to count other note values I'd be happy to post that info.

Betty
Posted by: mydnyt

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 03:02 PM

what if you have a quarter note triplet on the treble staff and a quarter note and 2 eight notes on the base staff?
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 03:15 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by mydnyt:
what if you have a quarter note triplet on the treble staff and a quarter note and 2 eight notes on the base staff? [/b]
That's an issue of polyrhythm, specifically four against three (i.e., four eighth notes in bass clef and triplet quarter notes in treble clef). This is probably as good an explanation as any:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyrhythm

Steven
Posted by: Danny Niklas

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 03:31 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Gary001:
I've only encountered one piece with a triplet so far and I'm not sure if I'm playing it correctly, so before I form an incorrect habit can someone shed some light on the timing of triplets.
[/b]

Triplets are not so easy.
I've seen them played and counted in the wrong way. It's easy to express them as just three notes and failing to see where each sub-beat would fall.

So you have a 2/4 and a triplet of 3 quarters.
In order not to change the pulse you must turns the 3 quarters into two beats, which would match the 2/4.

This is how you do it:

1) every note of the triplet is divided into as many notes as the numbers of beats the triplet covers

2) you create as many groups, out of these notes, as the numbers of beats the triples covers

3) each group of notes must be comprised of as many notes as the number of the irregulat group or tuplet (in the triplet case, the number is of course 3)

So this is how it works:



The triplet covers two beats.
Each note of the triplet is divided by two.
You get six notes. You form two groups of notes.
Each group must contain three notes as the 3 of tre triplet.

The end result, as you can see, is that you've reduced those three notes into two beats.

It might seem rather complex, but it's better to learn triplets theorically the proper way understanding how to "compress" three notes into two beats with mathematical precision, rather than approssimate a "compression" usually with poor results.

 Quote:
That's how I initially thought the timing would work, however if that's the case, doesn't it mean the first 2 notes in the triplet are shorter in duration than the 3rd? Which leads me to believe my timing is incorrect. In fact, wouldn't that counting suggest two sixteenth notes and an eighth? [/b]
I hope you can see now with my scheme, how each note of a triplet is identical in duration.

I have two other tricks.

Alphabetically think of a normal pair of notes in a binary time as the word BABY

BA - BY, BA - BY, BA - BY, BA - BY

Alphabetically think of a triplet in a binary time as the word FAMILY

FA - MI - LY, FA - MI - LY, FA - MI - LY,

Keep repeating "baby" many times then start to say "family" in the same amount of time you said baby. You will notice that with "family", the syllables are kind of dragged, sort of perpetual.

Another perspective which helps to understand how to express triplets in time, is to consider the triplet plus the next note as a binary group.
This also helps to understand that usually the triplet and the next note are kind of "glued" together.

Consider this for example:



The triplet covers 1 eight beat.
The triplet is followed by 1 eight F.
Together they form 1 quarter beat.

It helps to think of this triplet as:

G - A; G - F,

but with the F on the next beat.
Sometime, when people think of such triplet as

G - A - G; F

they tend to create an innatural pause between the G and F and ruin the pulse.
On the other hand if they think

G - A; G - F

but remember that F falls on the second beat, it helps them to play the triplet more evenly without pauses. It also helps to think binarily, when dealing with ternary groups.
Posted by: mydnyt

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 03:47 PM

sotto voce, thanks for the link... it kinda help me figure out how to play that part. \:\)
Posted by: IngridT

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 05:15 PM

My onorthodox method for getting the triplets in your system:

Step on your bike. Moving your feet around the pedals gives you a very nice constant 2/4 or 4/4 rythm. Keep on counting 1-2 or 1-2-3-4 for a while, and then try a nice 1-2-3 3/4 beat fitting into the rythm of yor feet moving around. Once you can handle that, try alternating between the 4/4 or 2/4 beat and the 1-2-3 of the triplet. It's a certain 'feeling' you have to develop. And the bike helped me a lot to 'get it' (walking probably works as well, but on the bike it's easier. Your feet kind of continue the basic 'beat' on their own, at a nice, constant speed, while you can concentrate with your head on getting the 1-2-3 fitting in. After a while it becomes kind of easy, and you can hardly understand what the problem was.

Does this sound real weird?? I struggled terribly with the triplets, but for me this was the trick!

Ingrid (from the Netherlands, the bicycle coutry.)
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 05:39 PM

Great idea Ingrid!

Using your leg motion in biking to measure triplets with! It produces a side to side gait too, which really helps.

Maybe the problem, too, is in the mind when someone says trip-lets (a 2 syllable word) but needs the syllabication of "tri-ple-ets).

Tri = 3

I can almost feel the wind on my face, and I don't bike, never have!

Thanks so much for a good idea!

Betty
Posted by: playadom

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/24/08 06:21 PM

Take your left hand, playing any octave on the piano.

Just say for example that you're beating 8th notes.

You'd put the stress on the bottom note -- like thus:

DOWN - up - DOWN - up - DOWN - up

Now, say that we're doing triplets.

Stressing the 1st of the 3 notes -- it would be something like this:

DOWN - up - down - UP - down - up - DOWN - up - down - UP - down - up

With every note having the same duration.
Posted by: Gary001

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/26/08 07:21 AM

Thank you for the suggestions, especially Danny for providing such detail.

It looks like I've been playing triplets as 2 sixteenth notes and an eighth with "1 e and" counting rather than 3 equal durations as Danny points out. I'll have to spend a bit more time working on the rythm of these notes, but on a good note, the piece I'm looking at playing next uses quite a few groups of two sixteenth and an eighth note \:\)

Thanks again.
Posted by: Gary001

Re: Triplets and Notation - 11/26/08 10:17 AM

Danny, I tried to respond to your PM but it says your message box is full. PM me again once you've had a clean out and I'll get back to you \:\)