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Explanation of Sixteenth Notes and Triplets

Sixteenth notes and Triplets

This section is really important.  Rhythm and groove are so important to music.  It is equally important to really understand how these rhyhtms are divided.  Just think fractions and it will be a lot easier.


You know by now that you can divide the quarter note in to 2 eighth notes:

 

So the next division of the quarter note would be sixteenth notes. 1 quarter note = 4 sixteenth notes:

The 16th note:

To count sixteenth notes we will use syllables. Remember you want to keep track of the main 4 quarter beats:

A single 16th note looks like this:

Another way to subdivide the beat would be: 1 po ta to 2 po ta to.

Anything will work as long as you realize that there are 4 sixteenths notes per quarte note.

Listen to this example:


The Triplet

Another note value introduced is the eighth note triplet. For now we will only work with the eight note triplet. The triplet is marked by a 3 on top or bottom. Each quarter beat is divided into 3. So one quarter note equals the triplet. The easiest way to count a triplet is as shown in the example below.

This means 3 eighth notes per quarter beat:

Listen to this example:


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