# concerning irregular tuplets

An n-tuplet is a division of a given pulse in n even parts; hence, a quintuplet is playing 5 notes in the space of one, usually a quarter note, as a 13-tuplet is dividing a note in 13 even parts.

What I don't get, is that I have seen some tuplets put as 2/5 or 3/5 (often when dealing with polyrythms) — that is, playing tuplets of a certain number of figures, rather than unit divisions.

Could someone explain to me this, and how to feel and play them?

• After answering your question, I wonder if I misunderstood. Do you mean "3:2", meaning "play 3 in the time of 2", or do you mean "2/5" (which I haven't encountered; please include an example if possible), which presumably means "divide into five units, but only play two of them." (Or neither, in which case, please clarify the question.) Commented May 28, 2021 at 22:37
• i will do, when i am at home, i saw it on a guitar book Commented May 29, 2021 at 12:55

## 1 Answer

Tuplets notated as X:Y mean

Play these X notes in the time normally allotted to Y of the same type of note.

Thus 2:5 written over an eighth-note tuplet in 4/4 time would mean "play these two eighth notes over 2.5 beats."

Similary, 3:5 written over a eighth-note tuplet in 6/8 time would mean "play these three eighth notes over 12/3 beats (or 5 beats, depending how one is counting).