The triplet explained in simple terms

Have you ever seen a 3 on a sheet of music? That's the sign for triplets, a special rhythmic unit in music. Read on to learn all about it.
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What is a triplet?

A triplet in music is a rhythmic unit used to insert three notes into a period normally occupied by two notes. The main feature of the triplet is that it changes the note value and divides a rhythmic unit into three instead of two.

For example, if we are working in 4/4 time, two half notes would normally fit. But if I make a triplet out of two half notes, there are three notes instead of two, but in the same time unit.

A triplet of 3 half notes corresponds to 2 normal half notes or one whole note.
A triplet of 3 half notes is the equivalent of 2 normal half notes or the equivalent of a whole note.

The same is true for all other musical notes: a triplet of three quarter notes equals two normal quarter notes; a triplet of three eighth notes equals two normal eighth notes, etc.

A half note is as long as two quarter notes or a quarter triplet
A half note is as long as two quarter notes or a quarter triplet
A quarter note is as long as two eighth notes or an eighth note triplet
A quarter note is as long as two eighth notes or an eighth note triplet

A triplet is usually indicated by a bracket or slur above or below the notes numbered "3". This indicates that these notes should be in the space normally occupied by two equal notes.

Sound of a triplet

The following example shows the difference between a hi-hat pattern consisting of normal eighth notes and one consisting of eighth note triplets:

Hi-Hat Pattern consisting of normal eighth notes
Hi-Hat Pattern consisting of eighth note triplets

It should be noted that triplets can significantly alter the rhythm and timing of a piece of music and require precise execution to achieve the desired effect. The exact way a triplet is played may vary depending on the type of music and style in which it is used. For example, a triplet is often played differently in classical music than in jazz or popular music.

In general, triplets are a very good way to break up the rigid structure of a measure and give it greater rhythmic flexibility. They can create a flowing, smooth character, or add emphasis or accent to certain notes in a piece of music.

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