View Full Version : Triplets
Yep, you found what we all go through regarding triplets--there's no right or wrong way, just whatever works for you and/or the music you're playing. Robin Bullock plays them up-down-up and it's seamless and beautiful. When I do it, it's like sticking a crowbar through the spokes of a bicycle http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif .
I have been trying to get that down up down pattern on triplets and compound time straightened out for a few months, but the two down strokes in a row throw me for a loop. I may try Jethro's method and see how it works doing the two downstrokes on the same triplet.
What works best for me is up-down-up. You then dont have to double the downstrokes at the end of the triplet.
Try every combination you can think of and see what seems to work best for you.
Each option gives a different articulation. The Gypsy Jazz guys all are very strict about d/u/d triplets, and there is certainly a musical point there, as there is with the seemingly arbitrary rules like always switching strings with a downstroke, etc. I couldn't live full time with that approach, but it's always good to be aware of the possibilities, and most importantly the musical results those possibilities provide- even if they are a pain in the ### to adopt!
On the tune Harvest Home, there is a measure of 4 consecutive triplets.
It's pretty fast, would you pick those DUD DUD DUD DUD and just practice or DUD UDU DUD UDU trying to accent the beat with a down stroke the first time , then an upstroke the 2nd, ....etc? It's hard the latter way to make it sound bouncy.
I've been a drummer for the last 24 years, just picking up mandolin about 5 months ago. When practicing triplets for drums, I learned to play them in many different ways, not only between right and left hands, but patterns incorperating feet. That being said, why not learn to play triplets with all the permutations of the strokes. There are eight different stroke patterns to play 3 notes:
Armed with that knowledge, you could practice each method for a while, and then start combining different 3 note patterns, for example, try doing number 2 followed by number 5. Each pattern has it's own "feel" to it, and though you will find a couple that will be mainstays of your technique, you might find the all the exercises useful for technique building.
I've managed to grok most of the technique stuff I read in the Cafe, but somehow I just can't understand the triplet tremolo. I can play triplets OK on their own, but how do I wrap my mind around using them in a fast tremelo?
Should I be listening to some specific examples (what are they)? Or can someone provide more words of explanation about how to move from a non-triplet tremolo to a triplet tremelo?
I think (and I stress "think" here, since I am relatively new to this instrument) that the difference between non-triplet and triplet tremolo would be the same as the difference between 16th notes and 16th note triplets. 16th notes are counted as follows:
1-e-&-a 2-e-&-a 3-e-&-a 4-e-&-a
and 16th note triplets would be
1-&-a 2-&-a 3-&-a 4-&-a (where each count would be a downstroke, and an upstroke would be in between, but because of the speed, you wouldn't be able to count it.:p )Here is a short low quality mp3#of me slapping my legs to a metronome so you may here the difference.mp3 (http://home.grics.net/shannonwoulfe/16th to triplet.mp3)
Well, the hyperlink didn't work. Just copy and paste this into your browser.
http://home.grics.net/shannonwoulfe/16th to triplet.mp3
On the tune Harvest Home, there is a measure of 4 consecutive triplets. It's pretty fast, would you pick those DUD DUD DUD DUD and just practice or DUD UDU DUD UDU trying to accent the beat with a down stroke the first time , then an upstroke the 2nd, ....etc? It's hard the latter way to make it sound bouncy.
I pick jigs DDU DDU, and on that run in the hornpipe I'd treat it as a jig picked quickly.. so DDU DDU
I'm a bit alone in the world with that particular pattern, but in my personal experience it's "the fastest way" to play jigs.
triplets that are hit in the context of a reel can be done LOTS of ways.. pick them DUD or UDU.. or
Down (hammer-on or pull-off) UP
On Harvest Home, I'd go for the dududu which seems to group the line into 6 notes, rather than 3 + 3 you'd get with dud dud...I just like the "flow" on that line. That's how guitarists like Steve Morse would play a line like that, for maximum "flow" rather than "punch". YMMV.
Dan, I'm gonna try your DDU on jigs, that's different and looks like fun!
The simpleton novice's approach...
What about thinking "doublet" instead of triplet? DU seems easiest. If you ever have an extra half to do, it's down. So a single triplet is DUD, 2 would be 3 doublets of DU (the same as John's suggestion) and 3 triplets would be four and a half doublets. Thinking this way makes it less confusing for me.
I should be an expert on triplets. I have a set that just started Kindergarten:
Dan, I'm gonna try your DDU on jigs, that's different and looks like fun!
I found out while ago that Zan McLeod uses that pattern on guitar when he's backing jigs sometimes.. I used to think I was the only one!
Tom C, when you want to move on from "Harvest Home" there's another neat melody, this time in A, called "The Laird of Drumblair" which you can find in the Fiddler's Fakebook as well as ABC Tunefinder. #Compared to HH, the burst of trip-a-lets is twice as long in both the A and B Parts. #Whichever triplet pattern you decide to cultivate, this tune should help you hard-wire it into your motor cortex! #It's a beautiful composition which I heard first on a Bothy Band album, at a tempo I never expect to attain, DUD/DUD or otherwise! #-- #Paul
You guys know the Frank Wakefield tune "Play is pretty, me"? It's (I think) in 6/4, which is great and all, but it aint easy. Any tips on this or similar meters (3/4, 6/8)?
What puzzles me is how I can play jigs at "my" fast speed with little problem; but if I'm playing a reel or hornpipe at "my" more moderate tempo or effort level, it's such a challenge to toss in just one picked triplet. Somehow two of them is actually easier, as in "Harvest Home", where I must throw a mental switch to "jig" for the space of the entire measure. It's probably going to take some woodshedding with a metronome to work this out, unlearning some of the hammer-on solutions I've relied on so far. -- Paul
Some tunes lend themselves to triplet playing. My Grandfather's Clock and Handsome Molly seemed natural for playing triplets and helped me learn to do it.
seems my post yesterday was lost. OK, here we go again.
35 years ago I developed a split string triplet technique -
I simply believed that's the way it's done -
now it seems nobody else uses it!
It's D-D-U, only the D's are played on different strings
in the same course; the U is played on both or the
lower one , i.e., the nearest the floor (I believe, I don't really know).
Sometimes I will play D on one course, D on the next higher
and U on that, but it's not as striking.
Mark Bickford calls that "dragging the pick" in one of his tutorials. I've messed with that one, works best on slower stuff as it requires a bit of a change in angle of the pick..
On a fast tune I use a down stroke, hamner-on, pull-off for a triplet.
Anyone care to try to explain how Chris Thile or Mike Marshall or even Wayne Benson play those long extended series of triplets? I'd think they'd have to be DUDUDUDUDUetc. Otherwise, you couldn't keep up.
Ok.. Let's talk specific songs + triplets. Bill Monroe, Midnight on the STormy Deep, the intro. (and that pattern that is used so SMOOOTHLY in breaks all over his repretoire) I can't imagine that he plays that DuDDuDDuD. Its so smooth it sounds like DUDUDUDUDUDUDU Can someone confirm or deny before I go nuts trying to figure it out on my own http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
i think lots of people think any series of fastly played notes are "triplets" I'm not sure that is the case. the "triplet" refers to the third note as i understand it. The imphasis being put on the third note. The best examples of the pattern I can think of is Alan Bibey playing "thanks a lot" with IIIrd tyme out and Sam Bush on "reach". this is how it was explained to me by Alan Bibey. But i could be wrong. It's not all that hard to get, it is jsut a right hand pattern and timing thing. Keep working and it will come. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
i think lots of people think any series of fastly played notes are "triplets" #I'm not sure that is the case. #the "triplet" refers to the third note as i understand it. #The imphasis being put on the third note. #
Here's a definition of a triplet from Dolmetsch online (http://www.dolmetsch.com/defst4.htm):
a group of three notes of equal time value performed in the time of two of them, however, (i) one or two of the notes may be rests of equivalent value, and (ii) a consecutive pair may be replaced by a note of double value
I count them (in 4/4): "1-trip-let, 2-trip-let, 3-trip-let, 4-triplet" instead of " 1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and" where each "1-and" would get replaced by a "1-triplet" in the same time frame.
There are also 1/2 note triplates. break a 4/4 measure into 6 equal beats (2 triplets). You can hear Grisman do this on Bluegrass Stomp quite often.
"Anyone care to try to explain how Chris Thile or Mike Marshall or even Wayne Benson play those long extended series of triplets? "
Chris once said many times he actually plays quadruplates (forplets), so he ends up in the correct direction. He says it's so quick not many can hear the difference.
-figures he would add more notes.