I know 6/8 is a two feel, so I feel like 12/8 would be a four feel of four triplet groups per bar. Is this correct?


2 Answers 2


Yep, you're exactly right. 6/8 is to 12/8 as 2/4 is to 4/4.

Now, technically it's not four triplets per bar. The notion of a triplet is that there are three rhythmic units in the space normally given to two of those units; thus a set of eighth-note triplets take up the space normally given to two eighth notes ( = a quarter note). But in 12/8, these three eighth notes combined to create a beat of a dotted-quarter note.

The standard description is that time signatures like 2/4 and 4/4 are called simple meter because their subdivisions are multiples of 2. Meters like 6/8 and 12/8, however, are compound meters because their subdivisions are multiples of 3.

  • The pulses are dotted notes it can be three quavers or a crotchet and a quaver or just a dotted crotchet. It certainly will not always be a collection of quavers.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 18, 2017 at 9:32

You'll see a blues shuffle written in 12/8 time often enough. So you can think of the "da da dum dum, da da dum dum" blues rhythm in 12/8. It gives a triplet feel.

  • 2
    'Da da dum dum' can be said to many different rhythms, so it's not too helpful to put that.'Humpty-dumpty' works quite well.
    – Tim
    Jan 20, 2017 at 11:31

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