I've got this rhythm which has a 3:5 bit (the three notes in the top go against the first five in the bottom - the final rest in each bar is in-line to make up the bar of 6/8) and I've sketched out what I want (see below). The two staves should be the same. The two F notes should be the same note, how should this be notated correctly? The top F correctly notates the start of the F and the bottom F correctly notates the end / start of the E. I'm not sure how to notate them together on the same line.

Mixed triplet notation

Any guidance is appreciated, thank you.

EDIT: Hopefully this makes the intended rhythm clearer. enter image description here

  • Can you please add clarification where the 5 in the 3:5 comes in? The bottom clef shows a total of 6 eight notes, so it's hard to know what 5 refers to. Even better, can you play the rhythm and a link to it?
    – yamex5
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 16:15
  • Right, the sixth quaver rest is there to show they are in-line. The three quavers in the triplet go against the first five quavers shown on the bottom clef.
    – Ashiataka
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 16:18
  • This doesn't make sense. If the start of the E in the lower clef is correct, then the triplet can only be taking up 4 eight notes, or am I missing something?
    – yamex5
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 17:33
  • You're missing that the tuplet is 3:5 as I've stated several times. It's three notes in the space of five. The three notes on top take the same time as the five notes on bottom. The the first five quaver notes / rests on the bottom staff take the same time as the first three notes / rests on the top staff. I'm not sure how I can express that idea any clearer.
    – Ashiataka
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 18:01
  • First, the durations should be quarters. Tuplet notation can be thought of as squeezing more notes into the original duration, and 3 eighth notes already don't fill out the 5/8 duration. So I would argue that in the top stave of your second image, change the durations to 3 quarter notes and mark them as a triplet.
    – yamex5
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


Maths. I removed the final quaver rest from your example, because it occurs in both voices. This left a bar of 5/8 and I divided that into 15. Each quaver is subdivided into triplet semiquavers.

enter image description here

The lower voice contains five quaver Fs.

And in the upper voice, as each quaver is divided into a triplet semiquavers the first C is three triplet semiquavers tied to two triplet semiquavers, total note length = 5 triplet semiquavers. And so on.

I think it would be very hard to perform this. This second example combines the upper and lower voice rhythms from your two snippets:

enter image description here

And finally I've put your last quaver back in, and changed the time signature back to 6/8:

enter image description here

  • That's perfect, thank you. The last example is what I needed. Thanks for the method too, that makes a lot of sense.
    – Ashiataka
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 23:37

As someone who might have to play these parts, I'm strongly in favor of writing with a simple 2/4 or 4/4 time signature, and marking the upper part as triplets and the lower part as quintuplets. (either single-beat or two-beat extent as you prefer)

It does not bother us performers to see triplets and quints marked, and after a bar or two you can write "simile" and skip the markings if you desire.

Writing in eighth plus sixteenth groups marked as "triplet" is ugly. And 5/8 is typically treated as 3 + 2 rhythm, so not what it appears you wanted.

  • Thanks for the note, but I wouldn't worry, nobody actually plays my music - I should be so lucky! The piece is actually in 11/8, and this is the only section that isn't straight quavers / crotchets. I just simplified the problem area for my question.
    – Ashiataka
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 0:22
  • @Ashiataka If you truly have no "sub-divisions" of your 11/8, e.g., 6/8 - 5/8 , then I still think you're better off marking triplets that spread over 5 beats, even tho' that's insane to try to play in strict time. Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 14:02
  • The bars are subdivided usually into 4,4,3. I'm not sure how your solution would work though because it's just the one note that uses the tuplet construction. See the last example in the accepted answer.
    – Ashiataka
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 14:28

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