Like many guitarists I'm not great at reading traditional music notation. I just came across the following bar, and I'm confused:

sequoia throne

(If anyone cares, this is from the song Sequoia Throne by Protest the Hero. It's from the official transcription published by the band; it's not just some random unreliable tab from the internet.)

As far as I can tell from listening to the track, every note in this bar is supposed to be of the same duration, and in fact that's the only way to make the notes and the rest "add up" to an exact four beats.

So why do some groupings of notes have a "3" written above/below them while others have a "6", when each grouping only has three notes in it? Is it even permissible to write a "6" like this above a grouping of 3 notes?

I suspect that this is a typographical error but I'm not confident in my own knowledge of music notation. Am I missing something?

(I know what triplets and sextuplets are; my question here is about the notation.)

  • 5
    Seems like a typo. A '6' over all six would be better. And that would go for all 4 beats - including the rest+3semis.
    – Tim
    Mar 30, 2020 at 9:08
  • Even though this is not a random TAB it’s still not that professionally done. See how one slur marking overlaps one of the triplet markings. So, yeah, definitely a typo. Besides, it’s worth noting that nearly all published music (books, online sheet music etc.) have some errors in too... But they’re not usually as fundamental as this. Quite often I see discrepancies between the conventional notation and TAB lines. Mar 30, 2020 at 9:49
  • @BobBroadley I'm pretty sure I saw the authors mention somewhere that they made the transcriptions using Guitar Pro, which isn't the best software for this kind of thing, so that's probably the source of the errors.
    – GMA
    Mar 30, 2020 at 9:57
  • I suggest to drop rhythm, the rhythm seems clearly regular.
    – guidot
    Mar 30, 2020 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


Yeah, they almost certainly meant to write this:

%%score T1
V:T1           clef=treble-8
% 1
[V:T1] (6f,g,a,b,cd z2 (3f,g,a, (6b,cdefg (6abc'f,g,a,

But it got somehow clobbered up in the typesetting process.

  • Image might be better: I’m viewing on a phone and just see the markup. Mar 30, 2020 at 9:45
  • Could the rest and the 3 semis have had a bracket with 6?
    – Tim
    Mar 30, 2020 at 10:39
  • 3
    @BobBroadley that's a shame. ABC is the preferred format for posting music snippets here; if it doesn't show up properly on your phone then you should maybe file a bug report somewhere. Mar 30, 2020 at 10:58

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