This rhythm is one or two set of triplets (maybe it can go up to 3 but I don't think I have heard 3 before) that I see appear fairly frequently in Latin music. Example is at 1:34 in María by Ricky Martin

Is there any special name for this rhythm?

  • To add to the question, I know what triplets are. What I want to know by asking this question is if there is a special name for this particular use of triplets, which I assume to be commonly put at the end of a section.
    – user73310
    Mar 15, 2021 at 11:36
  • 1
    To clarify: are you asking about the triplet at 1:34-1:35 just before the verse that begins "Ella es como un pecado mortal"?
    – Aaron
    Mar 15, 2021 at 14:15
  • @Aaron Yes, that part. Or 3:58-3:59, right at the end as well (and a few more places in the song)
    – user73310
    Mar 15, 2021 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


There is no specific technical term for these types of figures. It can be called a “tutti percussion fill”, “break” or “percussion break”. This one is simply a one bar break with 3 quarter note triplets on the downbeat then a half note on beat 3.

These are different from regular drum fills as they are part of the arrangement and played by multiple players. Sometimes even other instruments will join in. In Latin music, whether it be pop, salsa, merengue etc.. there are almost always multiple percussionists. Ad-lib fills are usually the timbalero’s or drummer’s domain but these types of breaks are an integral part of the song and played by all the percussionists in unison.

Many Latin styles have a 3 and 2 feel duality, thus the popularity of various types of triplets, even on a tune based on 8th or 16th notes.

Here are a few other examples:

At the beginning and at 2:47:

At 2:13 and 3:27:


Adding to John's answer - a couple of words that might trigger off your search further - tressillo and hemiola. Tressillo is Spanish for triplet, which is what's being played at those break points, so would most likely be the term used, Spanish being the native language for a lot of the locations this genre of music emanates from.

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