# Quarter note triplets

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Howard K, Sep 12, 2003.

1. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
OK, I was round a mates last night and he was picking my brains about a "learning bass for beginners" book he has. He'd got stumped on one of the excerises and need me to explain

The excercise was on quarter note triplets.

Now I understand the concept of triplets, replaceing two notes with three.

So, taking a bar of 4/4 and replace each two quarter notes with three quarter notes, you'd go from 1-2-3-4- to 1-2-3-4-5-6- which is essentially 6/4 - compound time.

So, this excercise had one bar of 4/4 with the first two beats divided into three quarter note triplets and the second half of the bar divided into 16ths

-3- ==== ====
xxx xxxx xxxx

So how on Earth would you count that?!

1-2-3- 3e&a 4e&a

2. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
ahem.. bump..

to clarify i understand the idea on paper - i.e. i understand the divisions of the beat, but i just cant imagine how it would sound?

is this a really basic thing that i've missed along the way?!
cause i just cant picture dividing the bar into two, half in quarter triplets and half in straight 16ths?!

i can hear 8th note triplets into 16ths.

1&a 2&a 3e&a 4e&a

...but quarter notes has me a little stumpedfor some reason?

3. ### wulf

Apr 11, 2002
Oxford, UK
Howard,

I'm not sure whether it helps to think of the bar containing 6 crotchet notes arranged into two sets of triplets as 6/4. The feel is 3 notes evenly spaced over two beats. 6/4 is one note per beat over 6 beats - a different kettle of fish.

Rather than jumping straight into the three triplet crotchets followed by eight semiquavers, I would take it in stages.

1. Practise playing 1_2_3 1_2_3 while tapping your foot 1 2 3 4. This starts to get the triplet feel in your bones.

2. Now start alternating bars of triplets and straight crotchets to get the hang of the alternation.

3. Next, put the triplets and straight notes in the same bar: 1_2_3 3 4.

4. When you can do this comfortably, move to eighths at the end: 1_2_3 3 & 4 &.

5. The original exercise should now be fairly straightforward... now go further by mixing it up a bit (eg. 3 triplet crotchets, 4 straight semiquavers and 3 triplet quavers to round things off).

Wulf

4. ### moley

Sep 5, 2002
Hampshire, UK
I'm not sure why this is a problem. Could you think of it as two bars of 2?

5. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
Yes, of course.

OK, I'm tapping fingers on deak and counting in my head, this has a kind of galloping feel to it.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, this is polyrhythm - playing 3 over 2 ...in a beginners book?

6. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting Member

It may be leading you into a swing feel - which is the basis of all Jazz walking bass lines?

But there are a lot of crap bass instruction books out there - just browse in Denmark Street!!

7. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
Yes of course... it really isnt a problem. I understand what's going on with the notes.

Two bars, the 1st consisting of three 1/4 notes in 3/4 and the second of 16ths in 2/4.

So, I understand how the notes would be played, but putting them in the same bar means that the first two beats of the bar are a polyrhythm - paying 3 over 2... that aint beginner stuff, is it?!

Bruce, as it happens the excercise is leading into the nest few excercises which are about shuffle time... but I think you're right, crap book...

8. ### cowsgomoogone to Longstanton Spice Museum

Feb 8, 2003
UK
one way to nail quarter note triplets is to tap a steady quarter note beat.. not too fast, and sing yourself a 12/8 style figure on the 1st & 3rd beats consisting of a quarter note+8th note

(doesn't this sound awful when written down)

i mean bars like this...

X-X --- X-X ---

where the x's are your bass note and the -'s are rests

once you've got that set up it's easy to tack on the 3rd note of the triplet:

x-x -x- x-x -x-

we can do sixteenth notes in our sleep so it shouldn't be a problem alternating between the two

i'd suggest forget trying to establish a rhythmic relationship between the two parts of the bar and just play them from muscle memory... after a few runs through the passage will pass into your fingers & you won't need to think about it

one problem musicians often have is that they'll turn a quarter note triplet in 4/4 into a 3 note figure consisting of 2 dotted 8th notes then a regular 8th note

this is especially easy to fall into if you're mentally setting yourself up for a bunch of 16th notes..

9. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
Yes, this is the difficulty I had trying to count it yesterday night.

So, I went for a walk at lunch and I sung the notes in my head while walking to the station in 4/4
OK, so I'm a weirdo, but I often work out rhythms to stuff while I'm walking - it's a good method because (I don't have a car and...) it's easy to walk "in time" without thinking about it, then all you have to you can sing the notes in your head at the same time!

I've got the feel of it in my head now.

I have a jam with mates tonight, I shall force this one upon them

I still reckon that's a tough exercise for beginner book - going between the two "feels" like that.

As an afterhtought, just picture this guy walking down the street trying to get his head round 9/8 over 5/4 or whatever...it'd be like the ministry of funny walks

10. ### cowsgomoogone to Longstanton Spice Museum

Feb 8, 2003
UK
it IS a bit tough, because there's no easy common denominator between the two figures

it's a bit like in maths... trying to add 1/3 and 1/8... the relationship between the two figures is on the scale of 1/24

11. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
yes, quite..

Can anyone think of any songs that go between 1/4 note triplets and 1/4 notes frequently?

I probably know some already, but just havent seen them written.

12. ### cowsgomoogone to Longstanton Spice Museum

Feb 8, 2003
UK
not really, but I remember thinking 'Let's Move To Cleveland' by Frank Zappa as a good example of a quarter note triplet feel alongside a straight quarter note pulse...

also by FZ, there's a version of 'Cruisin' For Burgers' on the album 'Make A Jazz Noise Here' where the guitar solo section is underpinned by a vamp that does the same kind of thing... well worth a listen

for some reason i also thought of 'Heathrow' by Level 42 but i can't have heard that song in about 12/13 years, so i could be completely wrong

13. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
LOL, the first examples that come up are from the mind of Frank Zappa!

That proves my point - it's not a 'standard thing' to change the feel mid-bar like that!

thanks

My CD collection is seriously missing some Zappa - I used to have a double vinyl of a live set in new york somewhere... it was amazing. I must buy it again.

14. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
I know I will get scoffed at by the elite here...whatever works.

As far as counting/feeling triplets(any kind), what works best for me is saying/thinking "hig-a-dee bog-a-dee"
(Copped this from an Ed Friedland column in Bass Player)

So, the rhythm you described above would be-
Hig-a-dee 3e&a 4e&a

If needed, I can speed it up-
For 1/16th note triplets:
hig-a-dee &a or
1e hig-a-dee

Blahblah

15. ### cowsgomoogone to Longstanton Spice Museum

Feb 8, 2003
UK
nuthin wrong with that!

another useful one to use is 'hippopotamus' for quintuplets

16. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting Member

Is that for remembering 5/4? The yaddas are dotted quarter notes?

17. ### ConU

Mar 5, 2003
La Belle Province
open any fake book and look at the melodies for standards.they're all over the place.Cole Porter did it alot.
The easiest way for me to count quarter note triplets,is as every other note of 2 eighth note triplets.

8 8 8 8 8 8
1 _ 2 _ 3 _ etc.

18. ### neptoonSupporting Member

Jul 25, 2000
Melbourne, FL
roger that...that's how it was explained to me a lotta years ago

19. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
Good one, Bruce.
Actually, that does work...doesn't it?

20. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
Ah, so counting 1 & A 2 & A 3& A 4 & A

thanks ConU, that's logical

on the subject of fake books, i dont yet own one - which one(s) are worth getting? There's so many publishers that i dont know which would be a waste and which would be worth the money?