One of the most important kind of rhythms that we need to learn as growing pianists are triplets. We will find triplets in our piano music a lot as we advance into more difficult music and exercises.
There are a couple of different kinds of triplets that we’re going to learn about today and they will be the ones that you most encounter in your own playing.
Triplets are always in a group…they are never alone. They are in groups of threes and you will see this notated in your piano music with a little 3 either over or under the notes.
Make sure you know what simple time signatures are and how to count them before starting in on triplets. You also need to know how to count quarter notes and eighth notes and how to play them with a steady beat. You can find a great review of these basic rhythm topics right here.
The first type of triplets we’re going to go over today are 8th note triplets.
We count these 8th note triplets this way because we are splitting up one beat into three “sub beats”, also called subdivision. It’s very important to count and play these triplets very evenly…don’t play any of them shorter or longer than the other one. Remember that 8th note triplets are equal to the value of a quarter note.
Next, we’re going to learn how to count quarter note triplets. These triplets are quite different from 8th note triplets and are more challenging.
It’s very important to use the metronome while you count and play these triplet rhythms to help you stay in tempo and on the correct beat.
Remember that 8th note triplets equal 1 quarter beat, and quarter note triplets equal a half note.
While this written description of triplets is a great introduction to them, the following video shows you what each kind look like on the musical staff and I write in the counts under the correct notes so you can make sure you understand it correctly. Then I’ll play and count with the metronome each one so you can experience hearing them and even playing along on your own piano.
Good luck and have fun learning about these fun and often used rhythmic values as you will come across them often in all kinds of music in your piano playing!
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