WEFOUNDSchirmer Pronouncing Pocket Manual of Musical Terms


In music, a tuplet (also irrational rhythm or groupings , artificial division or groupings , abnormal divisions , irregular rhythm , gruppetto , extra-metric groupings , or, rarely, contrametric rhythm ) is "any rhythm that involves dividing the beat into a different number of equal subdivisions from that usually permitted by the time-signature (e.g., triplets, duplets, etc.)" ( Humphries 2002 , 266). This is indicated by a number (or sometimes two), indicating the fraction involved. The notes involved are also often grouped with a bracket or (in older notation) a slur. The most common type is the "triplet".

Alternative terms found occasionally are "artificial division" ( Jones 1974 , 19), "abnormal divisions" ( Donato 1963 , 34), "irregular rhythm" ( Read 1964 , 181), and "irregular rhythmic groupings" ( Kennedy 1994 ). The term " polyrhythm " (or "polymeter"), sometimes incorrectly used of "tuplets", actually refers to the simultaneous use of opposing time signatures ( Read 1964 , 167).

Besides "triplet", the terms "duplet", "quadruplet", "quintuplet", "sextuplet", "septuplet", and "octuplet" are used frequently. The terms "nonuplet", "decuplet", "undecuplet", "dodecuplet", and "tredecuplet" had been suggested but up until 1925 had not caught on ( Dunstan 1925 , [ page needed ] ). By 1964 the terms "nonuplet" and "decuplet" were usual, while subdivisions by greater numbers were more commonly described as "group of eleven notes", "group of twelve notes", and so on ( Read 1964 , 189).

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In music, a tuplet (also irrational rhythm or groupings , artificial division or groupings , abnormal divisions , irregular rhythm , gruppetto , extra-metric groupings , or, rarely, contrametric rhythm ) is "any rhythm that involves dividing the beat into a different number of equal subdivisions from that usually permitted by the time-signature (e.g., triplets, duplets, etc.)" ( Humphries 2002 , 266). This is indicated by a number (or sometimes two), indicating the fraction involved. The notes involved are also often grouped with a bracket or (in older notation) a slur. The most common type is the "triplet".

Alternative terms found occasionally are "artificial division" ( Jones 1974 , 19), "abnormal divisions" ( Donato 1963 , 34), "irregular rhythm" ( Read 1964 , 181), and "irregular rhythmic groupings" ( Kennedy 1994 ). The term " polyrhythm " (or "polymeter"), sometimes incorrectly used of "tuplets", actually refers to the simultaneous use of opposing time signatures ( Read 1964 , 167).

Besides "triplet", the terms "duplet", "quadruplet", "quintuplet", "sextuplet", "septuplet", and "octuplet" are used frequently. The terms "nonuplet", "decuplet", "undecuplet", "dodecuplet", and "tredecuplet" had been suggested but up until 1925 had not caught on ( Dunstan 1925 , [ page needed ] ). By 1964 the terms "nonuplet" and "decuplet" were usual, while subdivisions by greater numbers were more commonly described as "group of eleven notes", "group of twelve notes", and so on ( Read 1964 , 189).


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