I'm in the process of learning Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, and in measure 49 and beyond there are several instances of quintuplets over eighth notes. For example:

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I'm not quite sure how to count these, and when I search Google for a playthrough the song, it's always too fast to get a feel for it.

How could I count / subdivide these?

  • 1
    This isn't quite the exact same question, talking about "5 against 4" rather than against 2, but its highest-voted answer seems to suit your needs. Quarter note quintuplets Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:11
  • I took the liberty of adding a screenshot. I would add, to the answers there and on similar questions on this site: You'll find a lot of answers that focus on parsing out the relationship between the two rhythms. For practical purposes I'd advise the opposite. Learn the left hand really well and really accurately; use a metronome. Then get the right hand's eighth notes rock-solid. Then just do both at once, letting each hand "ignore" the other and simply line up on the beats. Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:24
  • @AndyBonner I'm a strong advocate of parsing out the polyrhythms. It's what works for me. Not that your suggestion is wrong, but it doesn't work for me at all. Slow practice with the notes parsed out, then speed it up and line up on the beats.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 20:07
  • If you are doing it precisely, a five-against-two should have the second two falling halfway between the third and fourth five. If you want to work out the exact distances between two sets of notes, then take the least common multiple of the two, and express both sets of beats in terms of that multiple. For example, five times two is 10. Break up the top into two five-counts. Break up the bottom into five two-counts. So, the second 8th note falls on 6, and the third quintuplet 16th note falls on 5, and the fourth one on 7.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 20:12
  • As someone whose main musical focus nowadays is polyrhythms, I would say that both approaches work and both can help. You can subdivide it and play it slowly, or you can get each hand fluent on its own and combine them. Ultimately, if you really groove in a polyrhythm, the two approaches meld. Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 12:56


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