How to Count 16th note triplets

stuglue

Junior Member
Hi, can anyone show you me an easy way to count these?
I'm using 1 e & a for regular 16th notes but don't know a simple way to do 16th note triplets (sextuplets)
Ive tried coming up with my own system but they don't seem to roll off the tongue
Any ideas?
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
There are some words in English with three syllables with equal emphasis on each which are useful in counting (and feeling) triplets. The one I use for semiquaver (16th) triplets is 'merrily' but you could also use 'pineapple'.

The triplet is then played 'mer-ri-ly' or 'pine-app-le'. If you want to count I would only count the crotchets (1/4 notes): 'one-app-le; pine-app-le; two-app-le' pine-app-le; etc....but typically when I play semi-quaver triplets I tend to feel where the downbeats are rather than count them. In my head I just hear 'merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily' and so on...

Hope this helps.

TMS
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
I use "one-e-a &-e-a" or "1-trip-let-and-trip-let", but these get very difficult to enunciate even at medium tempos. The Konokol style of enunciating triplets/threes, i.e. "ta-ki-ta" has the advantage of being very easy to sing, but has the disadvantage of not counting beats.

What I tend to do at quicker tempos is to simply count either the eighths (1 & 2 &) knowing that I'm simply subdividing that into three, or actually counting triplets and subdividing those into two. The former would be more likely to happen in context of a piece with an 8th-note or 16th-note groove, while the latter more likely in something with a triplet groove. The latter works well when you're playing your sextuplets/16th triplets with single strokes as you can simply follow your lead hand playing triplets and fill in the spaces with the opposite hand. A similar thing can be done with 32nds at pace, where you simply count the 16th notes and divide into two, or count 8ths and divide each into 4.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
.......but these get very difficult to enunciate even at medium tempos. The Konokol style of enunciating triplets/threes, i.e. "ta-ki-ta" has the advantage of being very easy to sing, but has the disadvantage of not counting beats.
Couldn't agree more. It really doesn't take long until your hands can move faster than your brain can keep up with all those and-trip-lets..." etc.

I'd never heard of the Konokol style until joining here. Wasn't familiar with the concept at all. To me, it still seems a very cumbersome way of 'counting'......no doubt stemming from my unfamiliarity. But I guess as I don't need to worry about learning it myself, what I think is of little consequence.

or actually counting triplets and subdividing those into two..............
The latter works well when you're playing your sextuplets/16th triplets with single strokes as you can simply follow your lead hand playing triplets and fill in the spaces with the opposite hand.
Agreed again. I find counting the triplet with the lead hand and filling in the notes a far easier approach than any of the advised sextuplet couting methods.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I've never been a counter and the closest I some to it is making undignified boom-box hihat sounds like a bad metronome. For certain feels I've forever been corrupted by Terry Bozzio on Zappa's Big Leg Emma ... boogidy boogidy boogidy.

Primitive, I know, but I find it catchy.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
If the tempo is too fast, most counting methods get cumbersome, so I just count 8th notes ("one and two and..."), but play a triplet on every count. Or, count quarters, but play a sextuplet every count.
 

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
Benny Greb suggests using "radio" in his dvd.

Personally I just say non-sense words like ba-da-da or ba-na-na or something. much easier than saying actually numbers. lol.

and if its just straight 16th notes I add an extra syllable and voila! counting for dummies.

-Jonathan
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
Since there are no official syllables, I make up my own. BUT, I do keep 1 + 2 + 3 + within. So it's like, "1-d-d-+-d-d-2-d-d-+-d-d-3-d-d-+-d-d..." If you roll the "d's" you can actually count quite fast like that and this way you're keeping track of the counts as you go.
 

SEVNT7

Senior Member
Eastman System of counting 8th note triplets is 1 La Li, 2 La Li , and so on. For sixteenth note triplets it's - 1 ta La ta Li ta, 2 ta La ta Li ta........
 

stuglue

Junior Member
Hi, some good examples here
Another question here and i think this won't be as easy to break down. Obviously 16ths and 16th triplets are either 4 or 6, even numbers, how do you count quintuplets and septuplets (5s and 7s)
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
Hi, some good examples here
Another question here and i think this won't be as easy to break down. Obviously 16ths and 16th triplets are either 4 or 6, even numbers, how do you count quintuplets and septuplets (5s and 7s)
I certainly don't understand this "counting" thing. Just fit the 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, 6, or 7, or 9, or whatever notes you have to fit inside the given pulse/quarter. Divide 1 by the amount of notes you've got to fit, or in other words, play the amount of notes you want with even spacing, and that's it. Counting can be useful, for example, when it's a 13-bar solo, or a beat that resolves every 7 bars, or whatever, but not for counting subdivisions, it's a different kind of counting.


Fox.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
I certainly don't understand this "counting" thing. Just fit the 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, 6, or 7, or 9, or whatever notes you have to fit inside the given pulse/quarter. Divide 1 by the amount of notes you've got to fit, or in other words, play the amount of notes you want with even spacing, and that's it. Counting can be useful, for example, when it's a 13-bar solo, or a beat that resolves every 7 bars, or whatever, but not for counting subdivisions, it's a different kind of counting.


Fox.
I'm not sure it's the numerical aspect of "counting" that is the OP's concern. It's finding a vocal device they can use to help them learn to correctly subdivide the rhythm.
 

Bacci0909

Junior Member
I always count triplets 1-a-let, 2-a-let, etc.. Never made sense to me to do "1-trip-let, 2-trip-let.." Don't know why.. maybe cause it might cause confusion with students when you say "accent the trip", in my mind I would think the downbeat.

anywayss I count 16th note triplets 1-a-let &-a-let, 2-a-let &-a-let, 3-a-let &-a-let, 4-a-let &-a-let... that way it's easier to comprehend where the 8th notes are in all of it. Makes particular sense when trying to teach 16th-note triplet fills in 8th note rock beats
 

JohnW

Silver Member
We have a lot of eighth note triplet and sixteenth note triplet phrases in pipe band drum scores. You might have have something that goes 1 trip-a-let 2, where "trip" starts on the and of 1 and ends on the down beat 2. There was a new tenor drummer who had difficulty reading the music. Once she heard it being played she said, "oh, it's 'son-of-a-gun.'" Only she didn't say gun. So that's our new mnemonic for phrases that go trip-a-let-tap.

-John
 

Zickos

Gold Member
I've never been a counter and the closest I some to it is making undignified boom-box hihat sounds like a bad metronome. For certain feels I've forever been corrupted by Terry Bozzio on Zappa's Big Leg Emma ... boogidy boogidy boogidy.

Primitive, I know, but I find it catchy.
Polly, I absolutely love that!

Using the "Breath Impulse System" that is used in public school band programs in Oklahoma, regular triplets are counted "1 la li 2 la li, etc. Sixteenth note triplets or sextuplets are counted "1 ta la ta li ta 2 ta la ta li ta. It is much easier to count and say and, for wind instruments, it also helps with their tonging. FWIW
 
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