I imagine the F and D would be played together but what about the others? (2 Cs and a B flat in the group of 4 and the A and C of the triplet).

enter image description here

  • 1
    It appears to be a polyrhythm, i.e. they don't line up, you play the 4 notes in the right hand in the same time as you play the 3 notes in the left hand. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyrhythm Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 2:33
  • Check out the first of Brahms' 51 Exercises if you want to practise four against three. Note that while the arithmetic approach to polyrhythms works in the simplest cases, like here, it's no good as a general solution to more complex combinations. "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth."
    – user48353
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 3:02
  • 1
    That 'Bb' is a B natural.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 7:56
  • I find the answer of @AlbrechtHügli better than any of the answers given in music.stackexchange.com/questions/82571/… which don't use music notation. Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


of course you can count:

if you multiply 3 with 4 you get 12. So when you count to 12

the triplets are played at 1, 5, 9,

the 32nd are played at 1, 4, 7, 10.

Triplets: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

the 32nd: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

enter image description here This metrical analysis was just to answer your question where the notes exactly have to be placed.

But for practicing my advice is: forget the counting!

mind that the numbers in the following text are the fingering!

Starting both hands with given fingering, practice everywhere: Play first the triplets of the l.h. alone: 5,3,1, 5,3,1, then play with the right hand the fingers 4,3,2,1 and with the left hand the fingers 5,3,1 and notice that

the 3 of the r.h. is short before the 3 of the l.h.

the 2 of the r. h. is in the middle between the 3 and 1 of the l.h.

the 1 of the r. h. is immediately after the 1 oh the l.h.

(This problem can also be notated by dotted 16th and tied 32nd notes, bot I can’t show it with my tablet.)

So I’ve found this picture:

enter image description here


If you hear the rhythm Dam__diDa-ba-Daba__ then you are correct.


(Note: Someone just placed a possible duplicate vote, but I'll leave up in case it's helpful to anyone.)

This is what we call a 4-against-3 polyrhythm. It's a relatively common one, so it's good to be fluent in this particular skill.

In this particular case, since your left hand is already creating a steady 3-note pulse, I'd recommend trying to fit the right hand's 4 into this left-hand pulse.

Doing some quick math, we realize that to fit 4 notes in the space of 3, each of the 4 notes lasts 3/4 the length of each note within the three grouping. As such, we can really think of the left hand as a triple meter and view the right hand as consecutive notes worth three sixteenths:

 1 (e) (&)  a (2)(e)  &  (a) 3  e  (&) (a) 
 1 (e) (&) (a) 2 (e) (&) (a) 3 (e) (&) (a) 

In short, your left hand just plays "1 2 3" while your right hand plays "1 a & e."

Similar math helps explain what to do if your left hand begins with the 4-note pattern. In short, your 3-note pattern in the right hand would be played as "1 trip let 2 trip let 3 trip let 4 trip let," since each of the 3-note grouping would last four-thirds of each left-hand pitch.

  • This reminds me of common denominators when adding fractions as a kid. /3 and /4 has to use /12. As you have.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 8:01

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