These are 2 measures from Frederic Chopin's Prelude in E-minor enter image description here

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Time signature is 2/2, if playing those notes it excedes the time


Someone's left out the bracket! Look at the timing of the top notes compared with the others, and you can see that the 3rd 4th and 5th notes (E,E,A) in treble clef need to fit in the same time as the 3rd and 4th in bass clef. This means that the top notes have to be triplets, played a little faster than the other quavers, to fit properly. Triplets here are worth two quavers, which puts the sums right.

Try to listen to a recording, and you'll hear those three notes sound 'out of time' to the rest of the bar, whilst making the whole bar still in time.

  • why wasn't it written as an appoggiatura or something like that? – supreme_tg Jan 8 '17 at 12:26
  • Simply because that's not what it is. Triplets are categorically 3 against the time of 2, just like here. Appoggiaturas and other ornaments theoretically take up the time of either the note before or the actual note they are written with. Very different. – Tim Jan 8 '17 at 13:00
  • @Tim "Someone's left out the bracket!" - Nobody wrote brackets for triplets, until the 20th century. Before that, musicians were expected to be intelligent! – user19146 Jan 8 '17 at 22:32

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