What is a dotted quarter note, 100 BPM, with a triplet eight note pulse?

My son is in percussion and he has a recording he needs to do and this is the "timing" he was given. Can someone help tell me how to explain to him what this it?

  • 3
    Sounds unlikely that the pulse would be triplet quavers (8th notes). Sounds more likely that this is in compound time (6/8 for instance) as the metronome mark is given as dotted crotchet (quarter note). This would then give a “triplet effect” as each dotted crotchet beat splits into three quavers. Any chance we could see the music to help you more? – Bob Broadley Dec 8 '19 at 23:01
  • Why wouldn't it be 8th triplets over 4/4? Everybody Wants to Rule the World would be a fine example of triplet usage, albeit at around 112 bpm, so a bit faster than the example needed. – Tetsujin Dec 9 '19 at 7:39

EDIT: after thinking about this for awhile I'm not sure that "triplet eight-note pulse" necessarily means swing. It could also mean a triplet shuffle. But I'll leave this here anyway.

Triplet eight-note pulse means, things are written as normal straight eight-notes, but played with a swing. This might be declared in notation something like this:

triplet swing notation

100 bpm means, 100 beats per minute. If it's 4/4 time, one beat is a quarter note, which is two eighth notes, just like in the picture above on the left side of the equals sign. With triplet swing, every odd eight-note takes two thirds of the time of a beat, and every even eight-note takes one third of the time of a beat. At tempo 100 bpm, a beat lasts exactly 600 milliseconds. The first (odd) eight-note lasts 400 milliseconds and the second (even) eight-note lasts 200 milliseconds. 400+200 = 600.

A dotted note means, "half longer than without the dot", and for a quarter note this would mean, three eight-notes. But because of the swing, the exact length in milliseconds depends on if the dotted quarter note starts on an odd eight-note, or on an even eight-note.

This explanation is awfully complicated, yet in practice the concept is really, really simple. Any rock'n roll player with one dotted quarter of a brain is able to play rock'n roll rhythm with triplet swing.

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