This is the beginning of Oxygene part IV (by Jean-Michel Jarre). There is a note-equivalence notation (not sure what it is actually called). I do not really understand how this should be applied to figures other than the dotted quaver + semiquaver. Especially, I am not really able to figure out how the triplets should be played and how they should be played in relationship with the left hand dotted quiver + semiquaver.

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2 Answers 2


Can't understand why it's been written like that. The legend on top says to play the l.h. in time with the triplets - on the 1st and 3rd, for each beat. Poor writing.

Crying out to be written in 12/8.

  • I agree, this is potentially confusing. I’ve seen many legends where two eighths equal the first and third notes of an with the note but never the dotted eighth-sixteenth. The dotted eighth-sixteenth was used many decades ago in popular music to indicate swing rhythm but has since been replaced by either the legend I mentioned or simply writing “swing” or “swing 8ths” at the beginning of a chart. Oct 19, 2020 at 17:14
  • @JohnBelzaguy - yes, there little (or no) point in writing triplets on one hand (literally...) and dotted, which become triplets from the legend, on the other hand. Swing is a lot closer to triplets than dotted, whatever the tempo. In fact, often, it is triplets - in my humble opinion. Others disagree...
    – Tim
    Oct 19, 2020 at 17:18
  • 1
    I agree that swing is fundamentally triplet based. If you were to write out a scale or line using just the a first and third notes of 8th note triplets (or in 12/8) and have a musician with little or no knowledge of swing play it you would get a swing feel. I do also believe that there are varying degrees of swing based on tempo and genre, i.e. more modern forms of jazz and faster tempos sometimes even out the 8th notes to a degree, These are things that cannot really be notated, but more heard, learned and felt. Oct 19, 2020 at 18:08

Answering your first question: the triplets should be played exactly as triplets.

About the rest, Tim's answer and the comments tell you everything else.

One detail: The G after the C under "Trb" (last bar, right hand) is notated as a 16th note, but should also be played as the last note of a triplet. In other words, C-dot-dot G may be thought of as a quarter note C, tied to C-dot G, where the latter is another instance of a dotted tuplet to be played with a swinging triplet feel.

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