Beginner warning: this is probably very trivial :-)

I was advised as a beginner to study and play music that I like, so I can see similarities and differences. I a beginner, but very keen you see, however, I have come across a weird kind of 'grouping' and don't quite know why it is there.

Do they change the way in which they are played at all?

grouping issue

Am I being really dumb in not understanding what it is for?

I have to admit, note duration, especially dots and ties is something I am currently trying to learn.

Many thanks


Those are called triplets. They add up to two of the base value. So triplet quavers add up to one crotchet. (Triplet eighth notes add up to one quarter note).

The rest there would make it especially confusing for a beginner to audiate but fear not. With practice it will become clear.

This is an explanation of triplets and their sound as well as some other things.

EDIT: No you're not being dumb. It is something that could easily confuse anyone. In the bars where you have the triplets you notice that there are 6 sets of quarter notes even though it is in 4/4 time. So each set of three is played as two resulting in the 6 notes being played in the same time as 4 would be.

  • 1
    here is another simpler expanation. Shorter too. – xerotolerant Jan 7 '17 at 1:17
  • To your edit: how is it not so that, that is permitted? Does that not just break convention? Have triplets been included in music for sometime now? – cmp Jan 7 '17 at 2:19
  • 2
    It doesn't break convention it is the convention. And it has been there for forever. Bars and rhythm are measures of time. The time signature says the value of time in each bar. So 4/4 means 4 quarter note beats per bar. This means that in each bar the equivalent of 4 quarter notes should be played. In this case the first set of three notes are played in the space of two quarter notes. So the equivalent of 2 quarter notes are passed. Then the second set of three does the same. So the same amount of time (4 beats) passes. So it is ok. – xerotolerant Jan 7 '17 at 2:33

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