I'm a bit confused about this graphic, notice the half ovals on top with the 3 in the center:

enter image description here

Is that a "triplet" and the same as this graphic in guitar pro?

enter image description here

Please note that I have searched but I am asking because one has a oval kind of thingy on top and the second has a bracket kind of thingy. Some of the answers I found are:

What exactly does a 3 mean over a quarter note and an 8th note?

I just want to double check instead of getting my ground/foundation wrong as I am very much still learning this stuff.

Are they the same and are they both triplets or something else?

  • It could be a combination of a triplet and a slur - a slurred triplet - although normally I would expect to see t he slur under the heads not over the beam. Also for beamed triplets the bracketing isn't needed since the beam performs the role of the bracketing.
    – Majenko
    Jul 21, 2015 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


Yes they are both triplets.

If they were not eigth note triplets, the measure would not add up to 4 quarter notes, but instead 5 quarter notes. Another thing to note is notice how the notes are beamed to make 4 groups. This is to clearly show each beat i.e. each quarter note. As you can see, those notes form one group together equaling 1 quarter note so there's no doubt that they are triplets.

  • Thanks for replying! Is there any particular reason one is curved (half oval) and the other "brackety"? New style or just differences in the software or 'old' vs 'modern' way of writing it?
    – Ryan
    Jul 20, 2015 at 18:01
  • 1
    @Ryan I'm sure it's just the style of whatever software created it. The bracket is much, much more common, but they are equivalent.
    – Dom
    Jul 20, 2015 at 18:06
  • 3
    It does not matter. Sometimes it is notated with just a number three above the triplets
    – Neil Meyer
    Jul 20, 2015 at 18:07
  • Thanks, I'll make a note that the "graphic" does not really matter, if there is a 3 on top, its a triplet. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Cheers!
    – Ryan
    Jul 20, 2015 at 18:12
  • My impression is that the curved bracket was much more common in older music. I started music lessons a half-century ago, and the square bracket is actually less familiar to me. Aug 27, 2015 at 3:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.