Could anybody please explain the difference in how to play the lower voices in the following examples, and how they would be played timing-wise, between these three ways of writing a sextuplet? The only thing I know about them is that all six notes should be played during a single beat.

Note: for the third example I could not remember where I saw it so I just modified the first one since I though that would be simpler than trying to describe it.

Two examples Third example

  • They aren't meant to be played differently. Are you asking about the sextuplet timing or the actual notes or fingering on the guitar? Aug 26, 2019 at 18:32
  • @ToddWilcox - The timing. Aug 26, 2019 at 18:39
  • The timing is the same for all three examples. As far as I can tell, the notation for the first two examples is identical. What are you seeing as the difference between them? Aug 26, 2019 at 18:41
  • @ToddWilcox - Then what's the point of writing the triplet on the down stems and marking only the first one as an 8th note? Aug 26, 2019 at 18:45
  • Oh! I thought you were asking about the sextuplet voice, not the lower voices. Aug 26, 2019 at 18:47

2 Answers 2


you can count the beat 1-2-3-4, but it will be much easier to count the sub-beats as this same pattern is repeated 4 times in one measure)

1-2-3-4-5-6 (4 x 6 sextuplets in one measure, some count the first of the sextuplets numbering the 4/4th notes:

  • 1-2-3-4-5-6, 2-2-3-4-5-6, 3-2-3-4-5-6, *4**-2-3-4-5-6

  • or you could even count twice to 3 for one sextuplets 1-2-3-1-2-3 twice 3 triplets for a pattern of one beat (4 times in one measure!)

in any case it is the sub-beats that you must have in your mind and that you can feel in your fingers and that you can hear as rhythm pattern!

If you read and play in the way described above, the lower notes will have to be played exactly on that single sextuplet note where it is written:

1st and 3rd example: if you count just 1-2-3-1-2-3 the lower note will always be placed together with 1

in the 2nd example it will come together with 1 and 3 and the second note will be hold along the last sextuplet notes: 1-2-3-4-5-6


The lower voice in the first and third examples are played exactly the same. You hold each of the lowest notes of the arpeggio for half of the length of the sextuplet.

For the middle example, you hold the first low voice note for the first third of the sextuplet and then the second low voice note you hold for the remaining two thirds of the sextuplet.

  • That's correct- the first&third are straight eighth-notes. The second is clearly marked as a triplet. Aug 27, 2019 at 14:53

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