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 Triplets in 6/8???
Author: Micaela 
Date:   2003-03-29 22:26

This has been a topic of contention in my high school Music Theory 2 class for the last few months. One stubborn class member insists that there can be triplets in 6/8 meter. In the first three beats (or the first beat if you're counting in two), he writes an eighth note triplet and one regular eighth note. Can this be done? I think it can but I've never seen it in any piece (other than in every composition by this class member). Has anyone seen it in actual music?

The same guy also has an argument regarding how to round negative numbers (up or down?). But he saves that one for calculus class- where no one can figure it out, either.

Thanks for reading,

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 Re: Triplets in 6/8???
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2003-03-29 23:23


According to the definition of a triplet I guess it would most definitely be possible to play triplets in 6-8 time. As a matter of fact, you could fit 3 "sets" of triplets in one measure, which could almost be considered a 9/8 time, which is what the "Ride of the Valkries" is written in.

US Army Japan Band

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 Re: Triplets in 6/8???
Author: Benny 
Date:   2003-03-30 01:42

As for negative numbers...
0 to 4: Round up to greater number
5 to 9: Round down to lower number

-6.3 rounds to -6
-57.8 rounds to -58

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 Re: Triplets in 6/8???
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2003-03-30 01:53

Benny's right. I'm a math major in college. That's what we do.


US Army Japan Band

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 Re: Triplets in 6/8???
Author: Sarah 
Date:   2003-03-30 04:32

I am playing a piece for the student composers concert tuesday that is quite interesting. This one section is in 5/8, and one measure in my part is subdivided 2-3. Over the first two 8th notes I have to play triplets, and for the last three 8th notes I have 8th notes. The next measure is the opposite. This isn't too bad, but other people are playing five 8th notes in that measure, grouped as 3-2 and 2-3. It's rather...interesing.

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 Re: Triplets in 6/8???
Author: Julia 
Date:   2003-03-30 04:54

Have fun w/ that sarah! :)
it is sort of confusing, but your friend is correct. I think it would only work well in a slower piece where the eighth actually gets the count...because normally in faster tempos 6/8 is felt in 2 or in 3. The best way to rationalize this would be taking the 8th note as the beat. unfortunately I don't really know how to give you a visual on the computer, but here's an example anyway. In 4/4 time an 8th note triplet would get one beat, a quarter note triplet would be spread over two beats...so the beat for the measure (as indicated in the time sig.), if made into a triplet, would receive two of those beats. Does that make sense? The concrete example is the quarter note triplet in 4/4. So, if you were in 6/8 and you want to make an 8th note triplet, you would have the 8th note triplet grouped with a little 3 over it taking up 2 of the 8th note counts. THe third count would be an 8th note, and then you still have 4,5,6 left. So, with your friend writing an 8th note triplet with another 8th note in the first half of the measure, it is correct. Does this make sense? Again, this can only be rationalized at the 8th note level, and would probably make most sense at slower tempos when the 8th n0te actually gets the count, although this could make for some interesting rhythms at faster speeds when it would be felt in two or three.

I hope this was helpful, and not too long.


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 Re: Triplets in 6/8???
Author: Micaela 
Date:   2003-03-30 15:42

Thanks. Julia, your explanation makes a lot more sense than my friend's justifications usually do. I've got it cleared up in my head but I'd still like to find an example.

Benny- Thanks for the negative number help. That's how my TI-83 does it, too. Whenever the topic comes up in class, my calc teacher dismisses it as "frivolous"- it's only asked to get the class off topic.

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 Re: Triplets in 6/8???
Author: Bart Hendrix 
Date:   2003-03-31 03:56

The problem with math majors is that they tend to think only in theory. Science, on the other hand, deals with the real world and knows that data comes from measuring. We generally handle rounding in the same way except when the first number past the point to which you want to round is exactly 5 (no more, no less -- that is, no additional digits beyond it other than zeros). In that case, if the number we are rounding to is odd, we round up but, if it is even, we truncate. That way, measurement errors tend to cancel each other out (it is not possible to take an infinitely precise measurement -- that's why we use significant digits).

On the other hand, this is really getting off the subject of clarinets.



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