# I'm looking for help both understanding and how to properly notate semiquaver triplets in 3/4 time?

Here is an example of what I am referencing. Here is how it is supposed to sound: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G1tNWeMQ_IADvZ8JITKzK0WIUDPYvMSA/view?usp=sharing

I am looking for assistance in properly arranging this to maintain the sound, but also helping understand why, with respect to note values. I believe this is 3/8 time as presently written? I am looking to maintain 3/4 time.

If I am correct, in the tuplet, the first note should be dotted, then the second should be a regular crotchet?

– Tom
Oct 16 '20 at 11:29
• Since posting my answer it has occurred to me that the piece might well be in two or four rather than three. If the first note is the upbeat...? Oct 16 '20 at 12:35
• Link might be working again. Oct 16 '20 at 15:45
• you may just notate eighth notes and write: swing Oct 18 '20 at 8:22

I can't open your link, but the notation is wrong, as you suspect!

It would most commonly be written in one of these ways:

(The fifth note in the third line should of course be an A!)

There's another - simpler - way to notate it if the style of the piece is jazz-influenced, but it looks more slip-jiggy to me.

• Would the second line be played differently from the first? I think the second option depicted here is wrong Oct 16 '20 at 19:17
• Sorry. I was thinking you were the OP. I've deleted those comments. Yes, the second option would be played differently. It is only 'wrong' if triplets really were what they wanted. They asked about using dots. I showed how it'd look written in a dotted rhythm. Oct 16 '20 at 23:43

Conventionally, a triplet is played so that its three consituent beats take the time of two "normal" beats. So as notated, you're right; each of those "triplets" consisting of an eighth and a sixteenth note would be played in the same amount of time as two sixteenth notes. Which means that all of your bars, as notated, are three eighth notes long.

The way around this is to use a quarter note and an eighth note in the triplet instead, like so:

The bracket is used when a tuplet group isn't beamed, to clearly denote which beats are included in the tuplet.

The image above is copied from the Finale blog, but most music notation software worth its salt will be able to create something similar.

• If anyone can get this rhythm to work in ABC notation, feel free to edit out the image I've used. I couldn't get it to render at all on this site, and while I could get it to work in the abcjs editor, the brackets didn't render there. Oct 16 '20 at 11:50
• regarding the ABC code, see How can I render “uneven” tuplets in ABC notation?. The key is "(3:2:2" before the note specifications. Oct 16 '20 at 13:09
• Also, if you're not already familiar, you can use the ABCjs formatting sandbox on Meta to test out code. Oct 16 '20 at 13:17
• @Aaron: Yeah, I'm having trouble getting it to render properly. I get some mess with mordents & missing the triplets. Oct 16 '20 at 13:19
• Most likely you're running into this bug. To render, empty your browser's cache and then refresh the page. (The bug is more general than the report suggests, but I haven't yet figured out the problem in full generality.) Oct 16 '20 at 13:22