A triplet – a type of “tuplet” – is a group of three notes played inside another note-length; a portion of musical time that’s been split rhythmically into three equal parts1. A triplet is identified by a small ‘3’ above or below its note beam, bracket, or slur (see image).
A triplet group’s total duration is equal to two of the original note-values contained within2. For example, an eighth-note triplet spans two eighth note beats (one quarter-note); a quarter-note triplet spans the length of a half-note; and so on:
- ? Hear eighth-note triplets in 4/4 time
Triplets occur on each quarter-note beat.
- ? Hear quarter-note triplets
Two groups of triplets fit in one measure of 4/4 time.
1 A triplet’s contents may not always appear equal; they can be modified in value, so long as the total length of the note-grouping remains intact; learn more:
- Understanding Piano Triplets, With Audio
Learn to read, count, and play both simple and complex triplets; with clear illustrations and audio examples.
See irrational rhythm.
Also Known As:
- terzina (It)
- triolet (Fr)
- Triole (Ger)