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Lesson 22: Tuplets

Practice PatternsLesson 22 Practice Patterns


Tuplets are rhythms that divide the beat into unexpected subdivisions within the given time signature. The most common tuplets are triplets, which we learned in Lesson 16. Tuplets are indicated by brackets above or below the group of notes, with a number that indicates the type of tuplet.

Tuplets can occur in almost any number. For example, in compound meter the beat is divided into three equal parts, but it is possible to have two equal eighth notes in a beat. They are called duplets and are indicated with brackets and the number 2.

Duplets in compound meter

The beat can be subdivided into any number of equal parts. There are no standard syllables used for counting these subdivisions. However, you can always use words with the same number of syllables as the tuplets. Most importantly, make sure that each tuplet in the group is equal in length.



Counting quintuplets


Counting sextuplets


Counting septuplets

Another type of tuplet occurs when we have a grouping of notes over an unexpected number of beats. An example of this type of tuplet is four quarter notes played in three beats in simple meter. It is represented with brackets and the number 4, indicating the number of notes, and the number 3, indicating the number of beats. The subdivision of this tuplet is shown in pattern 2210.

Four against three tuplets


Practice SuggestionsLesson 22 Practice Suggestions

Practice PatternsLesson 22 Practice Patterns


Tuplet rhythm examples and practice patterns

Fundamentals of Rhythm Table of Contents

Write your own rhythms and music compositions! Get free blank staff paper at www.music-paper.com.


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The Fundamentals of Rhythm, book by Kyle Coughlin

Fundamentals of Rhythm book

If you would like all of this information in book format so that you can put it on your music stand and practice it wherever you go, get The Fundamentals of Rhythm, by Kyle Coughlin. The book includes all of the lesson information and practice exercises found on the website.


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