- A triplet is indicated by a small italic "3" above or below three equal length notes (or their equivalent in notes and rests) and means that they are to be sung in the rhythm "3 in the time of 2" (or 1.5 times faster than they are written).
- This might sound like a very complicated thing to do, but if you look back to time signatures, and particularly the difference between simple and compound times, a triplet can (often) be thought of as a brief change to compound time.
- As you can see in this example, the "3" is sometimes written with a square bracket (or even a round bracket sometimes):
- The way to count this rhythm is to not count the "and" on the fourth beat, but to divide the fourth beat into three equal lengths.
- You may come across other types of "multiplets" as these are sometimes called, but a triplet is by far the most common:
- A "2" means "2 in the time of 3", usually called a "duplet";
- A "4" means "4 in the time of 3", but this is just twice the speed of a duplet;
- Higher numbers, "5", "6", "7" (or more) usually mean this number in the time of 4, although sometimes they might mean in the time of 6 or 8, or another number. The beaming of quavers and the contents of the rest of the bar will usually make it clear. These are quite common in virtuoso piano music of Chopin, Liszt etc. but very rare in vocal music.