In the previous lessons we learned about whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes and sixteenth notes. There are two half notes in a whole tone and two quarter notes in a half note.
So basically we worked in subdivision of two's.
Triplets can be a little confusing because you subdivide a half or a quarter note to three equal unites instead of two, but once you get the idea of it, they are not that hard to read and play.
Triola is an other name for a triplet in musical terms. We'll use both these terms in this page but the mean the same things.
If you know how to play in 3/4 time, you will have no problem in reading them. (Click here to go to the Dotted Half Note Lesson if you need a reminder.)
Let's begin with reading and playing two examples that demonstrate how they can be easily understood when you imagine them in three quarters:
The first example is a simple melody in a 3/4 time.
Now, if I shrink this whole musical phrase into one bar of four quarters, the third bar appears as a Triplet...
How come they sound they sound exactly the same?
Well, in the first example each bar is subdivided into three beats, while in the second example each quarter note is subdivided into three.
Still confused? Don't worry - by the end of the lesson you will understand everything.
Usually, quarters are subdivided into two eighths, and even if you are a beginner it's not difficult to play the following rhythm (if you're not sure about the eighths click here to go to the eighths notes lesson):
We can also divide the quarter into 3 equal eighths as well instead of 2 eighths:
Compare between the two examples above, and you'll see that the you still count: One, Two, Three, Four in both examples only you divide the beats differently.
The difference between the two examples can be seen by the subdivision of the 1st and the 3rd beats.
Try to hear and play these two examples one after the other, and after you practice you will get the feel of the Triola.
We can also see the difference between two eighths and a triola, if we put the rhythmic patterns one above the other as can be seen in the following example:
(We'll try to play the rhythmical pattern later in our studies. For now let's stick to the basics first).
Other kinds of Triola's
Sometimes we may see other kinds of triplets:
A triplet of quarter's means that you should playing three equal quarters instead of two quarters over a half note.
A triplet of half notes means that instead of playing 2 half notes you should be playing three over a whole note.
And what about this?
You guessed right - instead of playing 2 sixteenth notes over one eighth note, there are now 3.
And so on...
Triplets can be marked as an arc-shaped line, a bracket, or just the number 3. All these marks mean the same.
Now that we understand the theory let's practice these exercises by counting and clapping along, and you'll soon get the hang of it.
The third exercise is a beautiful example from the Serenade "Schwanengesang" by Franz Schubert. First, try to count and clap along, and then play the melody on your piano.
After you feel comfortable with this example, try and play the whole piece that I've arranged for both hands.
|Serenade "Schwanengesang" by Franz Schubert
Piano Notes Lessons
|14. Dynamic Signs
|2. Piano Keyboard Layout
|15. Gradual and Sudden Dynamic Changes
|3. Playing Melodies by Ear
|16. Eighth Notes
|17. The Sharp Sign
|5.The Treble Staff
|18. The Flat Sign
|6. Draw a Treble Clef
|19. The Natural Sign
|7. The Bass Clef
|20. Accent Marks
|8.The Grand Staff
|21. Music Terms for Beginners
|9. Harmonic Intervals
|22. Sixteenth Notes
|10. The Dotted Half Note
|23. Tempo Marks
|11.The Quarter Rest
|24. The Dotted Notes
|12. The Half Rest
|13. The Whole Rest
|26. Double Accidentals
|27. A Review of Musical Terms