Some Tuplets to Try

I've been immersing myself in early 20th century piano music again lately and getting lots of ideas for the guitar. One thing you see happening at that time is increasing rhythmic flexibility and sophistication, and this often comes from the use of tuplets. You can see it all over Ravel and Debussy, not to mention of course the wilder folks like Scriabin and Sorabji, and it continues into more modernistic composers like Boulez and Xenakis too.

I've worked a lot on tuplets in the past -- I even started, and never completed, writing a book on the subject -- but it's been a while and I need some rust removal. I wrote these two pages this evening and they ought to keep me busy for a while.

Everything happens over three beats, because I've worked on that less in that past than over four and because folks like Debussy love writing in triple time. The pitches are of no importance and the ones I wrote are rather silly (I now regret using any pitch variation at all but I'm too lazy to go through changing it now). I would work on one bar at a time, with the aim of playing both parts simultaneously.

I added some double-bar quintuplets at the end for fun, and because playing this stuff slowly is much harder than playing it fast (I've written two bars of 3/4 as a bar of 6/4 because I don't feel like getting into an argument with Sibelius today):

I can't really hear the difference between the rhythms in bars 25, 26 and 27 yet, at least not unless I exaggerate them a bit, but getting fine distinctions like these into your ears is part of what this kind of practice is for.