I was listening to the theme from "Game of Thrones" and noticed this section (listen for the drum). There is a hemiola that takes four beats, but the song fits 3/4 best. That would make the hemiola cross measures, and the best way of notating it that I can think of is a triplet of half notes. How is this typically notated? If there is a better way if notating the hemiola, I'd appropriate it if you would include that in your answer, but also include how to notate multi-measure triplets.

  • What time point in the track are you referring to. (Your link just starts from the beginning of a 5-minute music track for me). Most computer music notation apps don't support tuplets that cross barlines (Lilypond does support them), but composers have been writing them and music publishers have been printing them for more than 100 years. You just ignore the barline and write the notes in the (approximate) rhythmic positions when they will be played, as you would for a tuplet within a measure.
    – user19146
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 20:14
  • The drums at 0:15 aren't doing anything special. Are you talking about the upper strings at 0:53? These are just dotted quarters in 3/4.
    – Richard
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 20:42
  • @Sam I am not talking about the strings. If you listen to the drums at the end of the line/phrase sequence (I think it's at about 0:16:30, but my pausing skills aren't that precise) and compare them to the middle strings, the drum plays three notes as the strings play four beats (2 eighth, 2 quarter, 2 eighth).
    – cat40
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 20:55
  • @alephzero Can you post an example picture? I'm confused over where the bar line would go in relation to the notes. Do you just leave it out?
    – cat40
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 20:56
  • How do we find 0:16:30 in a clip that's 5 minutes 5 seconds long? I don't recognize your any of your descriptions of the rhythm (other than the possible 3/4 time signature) anywhere in the clip.
    – David K
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 21:15

2 Answers 2


Bob Broadley's answer shows the best that most (commercial) notation programs can do without "faking" the output, but in complicated situations this style of notation can be easier to read:

Tuplets across barlines

The notes in the tuplets are spaced relative to the other notes in the score as if the bar-lines did not exist.

(Note, the image was requested by the OP to explain my comment - I also couldn't hear what the first part of the question is asking about)

If this sort of cross-rhythm is a fundamental part of the structure of the music, you might want to write different time signatures on different staves of the score, like

Polyrhythm example


I haven't listened to the music you link to; besides, it sounds from the comments like the rhythm may not in fact be in triplets.

However, if you do want to notate triplets across a barline, you can just use a different triplet value and tie across the barline. Both the examples below give the same rhythm: nine consecutive crotchet triplets. However, the 3/4 example requires using quaver triplets and ties.

enter image description here

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