Sounds like a triplet but not quite since it's not all even.

Is there a name for this?

  • Listen also to the exotic instrumental section in "Living on the Ceiling" by Blancmange. May 6 '21 at 12:08

This is called Tresillo. It's a 3+3+2 rhythm: for example,

X: 1
T: Tresillo
K: none
M: 2/4
L: 1/16
V:V1 staff=perc stafflines=1
B3B- B2B2 :|

It originates in sub-Saharan Africa, and is very common in Cuban and Latin American music.

Here's the first measure of the song so you can see it in context:

X: 1
T: Kamouraska
K: none
M: 4/4
L: 1/16
%%staves {(RH) (LH)}
V: RH clef=treble
V: LH clef=bass
[V: RH] a3g- g2a2 e3d- d2c2 |
[V: LH] A,2E2C2E2 A,2E2C2E2 |

  • For related patterns, see "cinquillo" (obviously, five-note rhythm packing) May 6 '21 at 13:19

I would call that the "Coldplay Flamenco" rhythm myself.

But I have been known to be wrong.

  • 2
    ...and I'd say that you're wrong here too, mostly because Coldplay certainly didn't do anything new there. They certainly (and, "sadly") contributed in making it more popular, but that's it. I wouldn't be so proud about that ;-) May 6 '21 at 1:26
  • @musicamante why's it sad May 6 '21 at 10:50
  • @theonlygusti because while that rhythm is interesting, it can also easily become very annoying. It has been always used, but it got much more popular in the last 15-20 years, and the greatest majority of "hits" uses it because it's both popular and it's known to be pretty effective. But, just like everything that is interesting and simple, it really becomes annoying after some time, especially if almost every song uses it. May 6 '21 at 17:45

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