When, instead of counting to 4, we divide the length between one “beep” and another of the metronome in 3 parts, we have the so-called triplet.
What is a Triplet?
Playing notes in triplet is nothing more than dividing an already known time into 3 parts. For example, if these notes below (symbolized as eighth notes) were marked as triplets (number 3 above the notes):
You would think the following: the natural thing would be to divide a quarter note into 2 parts and each part would represent an eighth note. But since they are marked as triplets, I must divide the quarter notes into 3 parts instead of 2 parts and each part will be the length for this “eighth note triplet”.
The same logic applies to the other figures. For example, a sixteenth note triplet is an eighth note divided into 3 parts instead of 2.
The sextuplet is the same thing as the triplet, only you should divide it into 6 parts instead of 3.
So when you hear the words “triplet” and “sextuplet” around, you now know that they mean 3 notes per beat, or 6 notes per beat.
Many video classes on the internet feature teachers using the terms “triplet” and “sextuplet” in the demonstration of solos. Strictly speaking, the teacher who is showing a solo should say, in each case, if the triplet is of the eighth note, sixteenth note, etc. When he says nothing and says only “triplet” or “sextuplet”, understand that it is just a subdivision in 3 or 6 parts of the beats that he is showing.
We strongly recommend that you practice the concepts you have just learned about sheet music using Noteflight, Guitar Pro, or any other software that allows you to write the beats and play them later.
Without a reference, you will not know if you are dividing the times of the note values correctly. The best thing to practice is to listen to a metronome, write some notes with rhythmic values and check that you are playing them correctly with the help of software. There’s a tip for you!
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