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Reading music to add triplet? Or play triplet where you want?

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Mar 31, 2020 - 6:43:36 AM
15 posts since 9/30/2013

Not sure if this question makes sense. But, starting to play some reels, jigs, etc. on my tenor banjo, still tuned in cgda ( I don't want to learn another instrument right now) Playing the song The Musical Priest and I have three sets of lead sheets with slightly different musical notation. Do you put a triplet in when you just want to be fancy or would the music be notated to add a triplet? I am not great at reading music, so it could be obvious and I just don't understand. I posted the one lead sheet I have with two different versions.
Thank you.

Mar 31, 2020 - 7:11:58 AM

507 posts since 4/27/2009

I don't play Irish music, but it appears to me that Version 1 is just a simpler version of Version 2. I think you would want to learn Version 1 first to get your timing and flow right, then go to Version 2, adding the ornamentation of the triplets, making sure your timing is still correct.

At speed, Version 1 will be much easier to play, but as you progress, you will be able to add triplets at will.

Apr 1, 2020 - 1:46:25 AM



833 posts since 11/30/2015

I don't read music but it appears that version 2 has the triplets noted. A triplet is an ornamentation, they are not necessary, so yes they are when you want to get fancy. They are just one way to accent and vary a tune. I've been playing 7 years and barely use any ornamentation because most of my playing is done at sessions where you will never hear them.

Apr 4, 2020 - 5:23:26 AM

2415 posts since 10/9/2011

If you're just starting you might want to ignore ornaments entirely for a while. Wait until you have a couple of tunes of each type to the point where you can play them pretty solidly, then think about ornaments. As DSMOKE said, they're decoration and not totally necessary.
In the meantime, listen to as much trad banjo music as you can.

Apr 4, 2020 - 8:11:53 PM
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2758 posts since 2/20/2016

Ornaments and their location are optional, and are one of the ways a performer applies his own personality to a piece of music. Exercise good taste if possible.

Apr 7, 2020 - 7:15:02 AM

15 posts since 9/30/2013

Thank you all. What confuses me is trying to read the music, and not understanding if triplets are played on two different notes or just a quick DUD on one note to give it flair. I am trying to learn one song at a time, starting with this Musical Priest song (seemed easy enough) and build speed and get the DUD picking correctly. I do play trad jazz, rhythm, few single notes.

Apr 7, 2020 - 7:50:51 AM

507 posts since 4/27/2009

A triplet is played in one beat.

Apr 7, 2020 - 3:20:09 PM

21 posts since 3/24/2020

When you start playing triplets the dud on one note is a good start. Then try to get proficient at them up wards & downwards. Next add a grace note on the next frett in the middle of the triplet. Then play a four note sequence starting on the note followed by the frett above to the frett below the note & repeat the note. This is called a “roll”

Apr 7, 2020 - 3:30:24 PM

2890 posts since 10/17/2009
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Do you put a triplet in when you just want to be fancy or would the music be notated to add a triplet?

For traditional music, written notation just represents one way to play the music... and you might see many, many different versions... including different ornamentation.  As rcc56 pointed out, they are individualistic, and subjective.

Trying to find the basic core melody can initially be a bit challenging, but listening to a lot of examples of the same tune gives you an idea.

when you just want to be fancy

However... I should point out that ornaments are not just being fancy, nor just thrown in anywhere; but serve a purpose in the music... where and type plays a role in context of the music, often as rhythmic, flow and phrasing. It is difficult to make written rules for this, it mostly takes a bit of listening to example to grasp how different uses effect the sound.

Apr 7, 2020 - 3:43:36 PM
Players Union Member

Eric A


575 posts since 10/15/2019

Everything about music is "play it when/how you want, and don't when you don't".

Every tab or musical notation out there is just some other guy's version of what he felt like doing.

Apr 8, 2020 - 1:52:52 AM

21 posts since 3/24/2020

When I was a young fella starting off theO Neil’s book of music was considered the Gospel & a lot of the “old school” players were careful not to stray from it. Times have changed & most players are more relaxed about these issues but it is still good to cross reference with the dots if the credibility of the source is ok.
I have the adjudicator sheet for last years Fleadh here and the suggested guidelines for marking are: Command of Instrument, Tempo, Rhythm & Phrasing, Tone & Tuning, Style & Ornamentation....They left out Variation on the banjo sheet but it’s there on other sheets & is an important ingredient.

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