How to Count Triplets in Music

Things You'll Need Metronome Introduction The basic notes in music include the quarter, half and whole note. Each of these notes occupies a specific degree of time that lasts from one to four beats, or clicks of a metronome. Music can be fast or slow depending on the metronome marking. A metronome marking of 60 beats per minute will coincide with one second per beat while 120 beats per minute allow for two beats per second. Triplets divide a portion of time -- whether it's a full beat, a half beat or even two beats -- into three equal divisions of time.

Step 1: Turn the metronome on, and set it to count 60 beats per minute. This beat should be slow enough to accurately time your triplets.

Step 2: Count quarter notes by saying: "one, two, three, four" -- timing them to coincide with the click of the metronome. After every four beats, start over at one. While some music is in two, three and other divisions of time, for the purposes of learning to count triplets, we will use four beats per measure.

Step 3: Subdivide triplet eighth notes by saying: "one-and-a, two-and-a, three-and-a, four-and-a." Make sure the whole numbers fall on each click of the metronome and divide the triplets evenly across the beat.

Step 4: Count quarter note triplets by saying "one-and-a" followed immediately by "three-and-a." Quarter note triplets occupy the space of two beats per group of triplets. This means you have to space those notes evenly over two beats.

A measure is an imaginary division of time. You don't actually hear a measure in the music, although the first beat of a measure usually does have a slight accent.


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