How to count triplets, sixteenth notes and quarter dotted in this measure? Thanks enter image description here

4 Answers 4


I am going to provide a counter opinion to the two already-posted answers.

Based on the printing, and the presence of chord symbols on the line below, I am confident that this is a jazz piece, right? In that case two different considerations apply. Firstly you certainly do not want to be counting in even quavers "1 & 2 & ". Secondly, and I feel more importantly, jazz melodies leave much more onus on the performer to interpret the melody - especially in terms of the rhythm. This does not mean that you can do what you want; it means that the relationship between what was going on in the composer's mind and what comes out of your instrument is much more intuitive, rather than deterministic. In a classical piece, yes, those semiquavers would be rigid, marching-band-precise subdivisions of the beat. In jazz, what it really means is "those notes go bada-DA" i.e., they go past quicker than the swung-triplet pulse of the rest of the melody.

And in this lies my answer to your question. When playing a swung piece, as I'm confident this is, your count, or at least your /feel/, needs to have different levels of emphasis. Depending on the tempo, I'd say you want to be able to play by just counting the main beats - i.e. the 1 2 3 4 - but you should have in the back of your mind, or in your subconscious, the swung upbeats, 1 - (a) 2 - (a) . This is a matter of, as I say, feel, and experience, and familiarity with the nature of the music. Now this takes care of the triplets pretty well. The first goes on the 2, and you're aiming to land the third one on the following "(a)", so just proceed directly from one to the other via the middle one. Then, the point about the semiquavers is that 'they're quick'. So your feel should be to kind of "get them out of the way" on the 3, so that you hit the third note (the tied B) -before- the "(a)" of that beat. Once you're used to making that happen, then it's really very much entirely a matter of your own personal taste, interpretation, etc., exactly -how- fast/short you make those semiquavers. You might want to be lazy on them. You might want to snap them right out the way. Therein lies the art, music, expression, and all that ..

  • Oh there are Jazz chords written below the pic's boundaries Jun 10, 2020 at 5:42

I normally keep the 1 & 2 &. .. going and only when I see a triplet change it "Ra ta ta" at that Crotchet beat alone and to "3 da & a" when I see semiquavers.

In you case I'd go : |1 . Ra Ta Ta 3 da & 4 & |


In theory you would divide a crotchet into twelfths. Then there are 12 for the crotchet, 4 for each triplet quaver, 3 for each semiquaver, and 18 for the dotted crotchet. In practice this is unworkable at any reasonable speed. Like RishiNandha_M I usually count in quavers as 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & etc, but it works better for me if I drop counting inside a triplet, and if I don't add anything in the counting for the semiquavers. So for me (using | sign between beats and . for uncounted notes) |1 & |2..|3.& |4 & |.


Split the bar into 1&2&3&4& - or for simplicity here, 12345678.

D counts for 1-2, triplets cover 3-4, 5 is your two semis, leaving 6-7-8 on the B, which then holds over the full bar - 12345678 again.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.