Quarter notes + 4 32nd notes + 8th note.

In a 3/8 time signature, there should be no space for the 8th note. What am I not seeing?

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    I added the picture for you. You do not need to host pictures on third party sites
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 13:07
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    Note that the "extra" notes are printed in smaller type. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 23:21

5 Answers 5


That seems to be a turn. It is indicated in front of the note so as to tell you to play the ornament before the pulse. Those will be played very quickly as not to take away too much from the pulse.

These are just like the cherry on the cake, embellishment, little extra ways in which music is made interesting.

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    Thanks a bunch Neil, need to "Thank" since you all gave me nice answers ha :) Edit: Just saw stack telling me not to thank in posts, what happened to morals, thanking everyone here i guess :)
    – BioPipeRex
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 13:18
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    @BioPipeRex Rather than posting lots of "thanks" messages, just upvote any answers that you find helpful (even on other people's questions), and check the green box to "accept" one if it solves your question. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 23:22
  • If it's a turn, it would usually be notated using a ~ sign on the note.
    – Vighnesh
    Commented May 10 at 15:31

The little notes in this bar (little as in "smaller noteheads and beams") are called grace notes. They don't count towards the total, and how they are played depends on the context. Your example might be played like this:

enter image description here


You are seeing, and counting, an ornament. See it play it, but it has no extra count in this bar.This is called a turn and is usually played so that it starts at the moment when that last quaver would be played. Here, it appears to be wanted to be played so the last quaver is on time.Sometimes these are written out in full, using smaller dots than the rest of them, sometimes just with a sign. There are various different ornaments, all being named separately, and the timing can and does vary.

  • Thanks a bunch for this explanation, i was wondering if you by any chance would know how i would write that turn in GP6?
    – BioPipeRex
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 13:32
  • There's probably (should be!) a list of ornaments to write in, but I use a much earlier Guitar Pro, so sorry, can't help.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 14:08
  • I don't use Guitar Pro.. but I would also call these Grace notes.. maybe they're indicated like that in GP? I found the following in GP6 documentation Grace-note before the beat: A Grace note is an ornamentation that consists in a very short note played before another one. In Guitar Pro, you can add a grace note for each string. However, it is not possible to set several grace notes on the same string. A grace note does not count for the bar duration and for the rhythm display.
    – Greg
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 14:47
  • @Greg - Grace notes, ornaments, yes. On guitar, hammers, pull-offs, taps, slides. This appears to be an appoggiatura, one extra note on the same string (expected). Perhaps the facility's not available. These grace notes came about to relieve the tedium of same volume playing on harpsichords, etc.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 15:08
  • @Tim: GIven that the notes are printed smaller than everything else, I would regard them as grace notes which are supposed to be played immediately before the following note, which should land on the beat.
    – supercat
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 18:09

Even though they are joined with beams, the 32nd notes are printed smaller than the surrounding notes. To my eye, that would suggest that they should be interpreted as grace notes. While grace notes are typically printed with a single flag and a slash, a run of such notes would make music hard to read, as would a run of non-beamed sixteenth or thirty-second notes. I would thus regard the triple beams not as an indicating that the smaller notes should each have a duration equal to one thirty-second note, but rather merely as a means of making a group of grace notes more readable.


The 32nd notes are just there to denote a flourish, almost like a pick up to the next note.

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