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I was trying to transcribe by ear a song on the piano, I've reached a moment where it seems to be that there are 4 pairs of triplets and a loose one (so 4x3 + 1 = 13 loose triplets) but I can´t manage to find the appropriate time signature to complete the bar, I want to put them all in a single bar or divide it in two, one with the first 3 pair of triplets (3/4 time?) and the next with the last pair and the loose one.

Maybe I´m completely wrong and they aren´t even triplets (I´m pretty sure I´m mistaken), so here is the song: Tenhi - Kuvajainen

YouTube Link:

The bar at issue starts at minute 2:30, the first bar has 13 loose triplets and the second 11, so, actually the main question is which is the time signature?

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This could be written as an alternation of two additive meters: 9 + 4 / 8 and 9 + 2 / 8, where the 9 quavers are naturally subdivided in 3+3+3, so no need for triplets. You could also write the two additive meters as 3+3+3+2+2 / 8 and 3+3+3+2 / 8, but this might be an overkill.

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Just take your two index fingers and beat them on your table (if you happened to have one - I don't ;-)

-> (edit: talking about the table not the index finger)

Start with your stronger hand - for me it's the right hand - and try to make only the sound of the right hand ( R ) audible. The left hand ( L ) only beats the (almost) inaudible - so called - ghost notes. Like the drummer does on the recording!

What you've got here is a pattern of a 13 / 8 bar and a 11 / 8 bar...

The 13 / 8 is divided into -> ( 3 - 3 - 3 - 2 - 2 )
The 11 / 8 is divided into -> ( 3 - 3 - 3 - 2 )

Now let's have fun!!! Practice only the 13 / 8 part

( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L ) ( R L )

Later go for the 11 / 8 part by dropping the last 2 eights of the 13 / 8 part

( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L )

When you got them - combine the whole pattern...

( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L ) ( R L )
( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L )

It's almost like the good old 'Take Five' by Dave Brubeck where you have a 5 / 4 measure that is split into 3 + 2 quarter notes. The sax-melody actually does go for the 5 / 4 beat ( in eights ) but for the accompanying piano it is easier to see it as a 10 / 8 pattern. So the first 3 quarter notes are rather 6 eights - but instead of dividing them into ( 2 - 2 - 2 ) eights ( like the Saxophone does ) they are split into ( 3 - 3 ) eights. The last two quarter notes ( 4 eights ) are ( 2 - 2 ) . That finally brings you to 10 eights ( 3 - 3 - 2 - 2 ) instead of the 5 quarter ( 3 + 2 ). Even the bass player plays a pattern of two dotted quarters ( one of them is 3 eights ) an two plain quarters ( 2 eights ) which is again ( 3 - 3 - 2 - 2 ) .

Now tap them on your table like in the example above

( R L L ) ( R L L ) ( R L ) ( R L )

You see - you almost got the same pattern - only one ( R L L ) in the middle is missing. Of course your song is even a bit more sophisticated because the 10 / 8 of 'Take Five' have a basic beat of 5 quarter notes but neither the 13 / 8 nor the 11 / 8 bar in your song can be devided by two to get a straight quarter feel that hammers the beat home like in 'Take Five' ...

Although a little bit Off-Topic I hope that helped you to understand the basic structure of the beat of your song better!

Happy Table-Drumming!!!

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