Triplets over two eighths and a half note

As can be seen in the image, some composers mix the note types used in tuplets. In this case, there are two eighths and a half note (equal to 4 eighths). The total duration is 6 eighths in triplet time. Thus, ignoring the last four eighth notes in the bar, the first part of the phrase could be written in Lilypond as:

\tuplet 3/2 {e'8 b8 g8} \tuplet 3/2 {g8 g8 g8}

This, however, changes the phrasing, displaying it as two sets of triplets. Is there a way for Lilypond to produce the output as in the display?

2 Answers 2


Of course there is. Why don't you just write what you see? \tuplet 3/2 { e'8 b8 g2 } will do the job and give the following result:

enter image description here


Some more details:

Tuplets in Lilypond are far more powerful than they are in most other notation software. A tuplet in Lilypond is essentially nothing but music with a scaling factor and a bracket above. If you set the property tupletSpan or use the optional argument \tuplet ratio duration music Lilypond will automatically split the tuplet into multiple tuplets of given duration. If you do not you can create tuplets of arbitrary dimensions such as this:

\tuplet 3/2 {
  c' d' e' f' g' a' | g' f' e' d' c' b | c'1.

Also you can do any sort of tuplets crossing measures, and even do tuplets with irregular duration:

  c'4 d' \tuplet 3/2 e' d' \tuplet 3/2 c'8 |
  d'4 \tuplet 3/2 e'2 d'8 c' \tuplet 3/2 d'4

Combine this with irregular time signatures, and you can do stuff like this:

\new RhythmicStaff {
  \time 4/4
  \repeat unfold 4 { 8-> 8 }
  \tuplet 3/2 4 \repeat unfold 4 { 8-> 8 8 } |
  \time 4/6
  \tuplet 3/2 4*2/3 \repeat unfold 4 { 8-> 8 }
  \time 3/6
  \tuplet 3/2 4*2/3 \repeat unfold 3 { 8-> 8 }
  \time 6/12
  \tuplet 3/2 4 \repeat unfold 2 { 8-> 8 8 }
  \time 4/4
  \tuplet 3/2 4 \repeat unfold 4 { 8-> 8 8 }
  \repeat unfold 4 { 8-> 8 }

So in Lilypond you can have a Tuplet do quite arbitrary things, and doing what is seen in this excerpt is simply done by entering what you see and slapping a Tuplet onto it.

But even more even if you take a different piece of software like MuseScore (where a tuplet is music made up of n units taking the space of m units (where a unit is a power of 2 division)), which does not allow everything Lilypond would allow, will have no problems creating a tuplet such as the one you’ve shown.

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