The rhythm tutorials that we've seen so far have covered notes with timings derived from splitting a beat into halves, quarters, eighths, etc. The maths doesn't have to be resticted to such simple divisions, however. A common note grouping is the triplet - a division of a beat into three notes of equal length. Take a look at the following:


Here there are three notes on each beat and the notation includes a '3' next to each group to show that that each notes should be played with a duration of a third of a beat.

Of course, this idea can be used to show even more notes-per-beat. For example, a beat could be split into other divisions, such as...

The examples above all have the notes played as separate 'units', but triplets, etc. can be slurred in the same way as other notes patters. There is an example of this which is particularly pertinent to guitarists, and that is the trill.

Trills are a useful way of adding a little extra something to your playing. Basically, consider playing a note, then hammering-on to the next note up in the scale then pulling-off back to the original note, all within the space of a single beat. Have a look at the following example, showing a scale played using simple crotchets and using a trill on each beat.


Triplets and other such divisions of a beat are common features in music and so it is important for you to be able to read, count and play these with the same proficiency as more regular divisions like quavers and semiquavers. Good luck.

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