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Reading Music: Quarter-note Triplets


BbAltered

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Hello. I am looking for tricks and tips for coping with triplets in a musical score. How do I maintain my sense of the quarter-note pulse while playing quarter-note triplets, or (the more rare) half-note triplets? I am working on being a better sight-reader, and every time I come across a set of quarter-note triplets, I have to stop reading, puzzle out the rhythm, and then continue.

 

Thanks in advance.

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this guy's explanation seems solid.

he focuses on calculating values, and says its key to getting this down.

I don't think in terms of the British names for notes units.

but, the basic math for counting is the same.

counting 2, when you see 3, is the same in British and Americano.

 

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practice quarter note triplets as a major scale(s) for about 5 min.before you play the piece and/or every day for a week, moth, 6 months or so with a metronome....concentrate just on the 1/4 note triplets by themselves... with the box....you'll never forget them if you do that for say 1-2 months in any piece they may come up in in da future...just get deep with them for a-while!

 

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Yeah - I confess I haven't ever worked on this in a steady or consistent way. I need to put this on the daily practice routine for a few months.

J.S. Bach Well Tempered Klavier

The collected works of Scott Joplin

Ray Charles Genius plus Soul

Charlie Parker Omnibook

Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life

Weather Report Mr. Gone

 

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IMO the key to playing good quarter note triplets is feeling and hearing the underlying eighth note triplets.

Take six eighth notes in triplets. We're used to feel:

 

ONE two three FOUR five six

 

To play quarter note triplets you must feel:

 

ONE two THREE four FIVE six (at the same tempo!)

 

This will avoid the trap of playing "dotted eighth, dotted eighth, eighth". The same principle goes for half notes / quarter notes.

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That youtube link is not very helpful IMO - at 3:30 I hear "the big question is how do you rhythmically play this passage? That is outside the scope of this video." Nice explanation of the theory however.

 

You won't be able to play triplets if you can't feel them. I suggest sitting down, slapping your knee with one hand in quarter notes, and slapping the other knee playing 3 against 2. I think this will get the feeling in your body of coordinating these different time values together. It might even be a "light bulb" moment and not something you'll need months practicing.

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Yeah - I confess I haven't ever worked on this in a steady or consistent way. I need to put this on the daily practice routine for a few months.

 

I think you've nailed the real issue (and solution).

 

Anyway, I found this, which looks pretty helpful for comfortably transitioning in and out of triplets over steady tempo. Obviously, just adjust to quarters instead of 8ths (same thing, in practice):

 

http://georgekollias.com/free-lessons/8th_Notes_to_8th_Note_Triplets.pdf

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Yeah - I confess I haven't ever worked on this in a steady or consistent way. I need to put this on the daily practice routine for a few months.

 

I think you've nailed the real issue (and solution).

 

And when you incorporate this into your daily practice routine, record yourself practicing - on your iPhone or whatever (doesn't need to be high quality) in order to objectively hear your progress, where you're still uneven, does it still groove, etc.

..
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I think of the combination of what one hand sounds like playing quarter notes and the other hand playing the triplets.

 

The sound of what the two hands play comes out being an 8th note , two 16th notes followed by a quarter note. If I could write notation here I would show you.

 

The first note has the hands playing together

 

This is in 2/4 time.

 

That is the best I can describe it.

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IMO the key to playing good quarter note triplets is feeling and hearing the underlying eighth note triplets.

Take six eighth notes in triplets. We're used to feel:

 

ONE two three FOUR five six

 

To play quarter note triplets you must feel:

 

ONE two THREE four FIVE six (at the same tempo!)

 

This will avoid the trap of playing "dotted eighth, dotted eighth, eighth". The same principle goes for half notes / quarter notes.

 

I am far from a music instructor, but the above seems correct to me.

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So here is my new daily exercise:

One hand bangs out quarter notes (at a slow 60 bpm - with metronome). The other hand plays either quarter notes for a few beats, eight notes for a few beats, or quarter-note triplets for 2 or 4 beats. After doing that for a while, I switch hands.

 

Changing from eight notes to quarter-note triplets without losing the quarter note pulse is a challenge. Good times (pun intended)!!

J.S. Bach Well Tempered Klavier

The collected works of Scott Joplin

Ray Charles Genius plus Soul

Charlie Parker Omnibook

Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life

Weather Report Mr. Gone

 

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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if you practice with your hands, here's what you can do:

-LH taps quarter notes

-RH taps eighth note triplets

-RH accentuates ONE two THREE four FIVE six

-eventually drop two, four and six.

-go as slow as necessary

 

For some reason I have a much harder time doing this with my RH tapping the quarter notes.

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I just say "won-der-ful un-der-wear" while I'm playing them.

 

Playing LH triplets with RH quarters is not something I can do. But the other way around isn't so bad, as long as I don't think about it.

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I just say "won-der-ful un-der-wear" while I'm playing them.

 

Playing LH triplets with RH quarters is not something I can do. But the other way around isn't so bad, as long as I don't think about it.

 

Cool. Someone told me to use "Tennessee" for triplets and "Mississippi" for 16th-notes. Which works great for me, unless I need to stretch that "Tennessee" over 2 quarter notes.

J.S. Bach Well Tempered Klavier

The collected works of Scott Joplin

Ray Charles Genius plus Soul

Charlie Parker Omnibook

Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life

Weather Report Mr. Gone

 

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Playing LH triplets with RH quarters is not something I can do. But the other way around isn't so bad, as long as I don't think about it.

 

At school we are playing a 3/4 piece that have a "quartlet" in the theme, essentially four equal notes (dotted 8th) in a bar. When you hear it, is very natural; our saxophonists find it very very hard to play :->

 

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