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.
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.
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?
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.