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I'm trying to adapt a guitar piece to the piano. The piece, shown here, is in 3/4.

I've never seen this bit of notation before and I initially thought it was the indicator telling you to play 3 notes in 2 similar notes' worth of time, but it covers two quavers, so it can't be that. The notes without the rest seem to add up to 3 as well.

  • Where is this excerpt from? The fact that one of the notes is in a different direction from the others may be a sign that the sheet music is poorly written. – Dekkadeci Jul 29 '18 at 12:55
  • The excerpt comes from jellynote.com/en/guitar-sheet-music-tabs/kai-rosenkranz/… – B.M. Jul 29 '18 at 12:57
  • Ah, I think I completely missed the 3 above the 3rd quaver while looking at it. – B.M. Jul 29 '18 at 12:59

It's definitely a mess; there are a couple of notational aspects that suggest the person that did this is not well-versed in notational norms.

Listening to the recording on the website you listed in the comments, it's clear that the triplet figure should encompass the first three eighth notes, not just the first two. (Indeed, there is a weird 3 above the stem-up pitch.) Here's a better way of notating this:

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But I think it's actually more difficult than that. The piece is pretty clearly in 6/8, but the person notated it in 3/4 (!). The more "correct" notation would be something like this:

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This latter notation looks odd, but that's because it's an odd rhythm. I recommend you slow it down enough so that you can focus on each eighth note (i.e., think of it as six notes in a measure, not a large duple measure). Once you're comfortable with that, then speed it up to get the real 6/8 duple feel.

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  • Thanks for the valuable insight regarding the signature, it does make more sense for it to be in 6/8. This changed my view on the whole song. For the record, the original on which the sheet on the website is based can be listened to here youtube.com/watch?v=wCtV4DYZkK0 I do not think the composer ever released the official tabs. – B.M. Jul 29 '18 at 16:19
  • @B.M. Thanks for the link; it's definitely in 6/8! And even the above rhythm is a little inexact; it's played pretty freely, so I think it's best you just try and mimic the original recording rather than playing it in a precisely metrical way. – Richard Jul 29 '18 at 18:08
  • Why would the first 3 notes need the triplet sign over them? In 6/8, that's how they get played regardless. – Tim Jul 29 '18 at 18:27
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    @Tim Because the beamed portion is actually played within the first two eighth notes of the measure. (It's an odd rhythm!) I'm still a little unhappy with how I have that notated; please let me know if you have any other suggestions! – Richard Jul 29 '18 at 18:29
  • @Tim that was my first take, but as Richard points out, he's squeezing the rest and two eighth-notes into the first two eighths of the first triplet. – Carl Witthoft Jul 30 '18 at 14:00

We could try to guess what that notation meant, but it would only BE a guess. If the two bars are supposed to be the same length, the two dotted 8s add up to... No, I'm not even going to try. It's a mess. Just possibly if you showed us the whole page, or at least a whole line of music it might make sense.

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  • Thanks for the reply, the entire sheet for the lead guitar can be seen here, I'd share a screenshot but I think that'd be against the site's rules: jellynote.com/en/guitar-sheet-music-tabs/kai-rosenkranz/… – B.M. Jul 29 '18 at 12:53
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    Upon reading that sheet music, I agree with this answer--there's no way we can interpret what's really going on without listening to the song. There are several notation errors in it--bars with only 2 beats (or more than 3 beats) and no time signature change, grace notes with note lengths longer than the notes they're for...that the tabs look self-published don't help. – Dekkadeci Jul 29 '18 at 13:05
  • Thanks for the answer, it is indeed a site where people can self-publish sheet music. I'll try to write down the closest thing to what I hear, good to know I cannot rely on the quality of this particular sheet. – B.M. Jul 29 '18 at 13:07

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