Triplet Ballads, Piano
About This Page
Understanding the triplet is essential to being able to play blues, jazz, standards, and many types of
rock and country music. The shuffle beat rhythm that is common to this kind of music is based on a
tied triplet. On this page, we will learn how to play a type of song very popular in early rock and roll,
the triplet ballad. First we will learn one with plain triplets and  then one with tied triplets. This will get
you ready to learn to play the shuffle beat with the song "Shuffle Beat Blues".
Counting Triplets
The first song we learned with a three count was "Down In The Valley" in free music lesson six. This
music lesson "
Reading Music Is Easy" is the first lesson in the learning to read music series. For
reference I've put the lead sheet for "Down In The Valley" below. The song is in three quarter time. As
you tap your foot you count one, two, three for each measure.  In the measures with quarter notes
you play one on each tap. If you don't already know how go to free music lesson six and learn to play
this song on your piano or keyboard. Play the song now in three quarter time. Now try it again but just
tap you foot once for each measure.  Now in the measures with quarter notes you are getting the
feeling of triplets.
Unlike many of my main pages, this page will not have a full navigation bar. It is part of the music
reading lessons and will only have links back to the free lessons on learning to read music. I am going
to give you only three links. This first link gets you back to free music lesson 6, "
Reading Music Is
Easy". This second link gets you back to free music lesson 7, "What That Note". This third link gets
you to free music lesson 8, "
Timing The Notes".  There will be links there to get you back here. They
will be found at the top of the main pages and in the relevant paragraphs on  three quarter time, the
triplet and shuffle beat topics. Those main pages have full navigation bars to get you to any main
page on this website. Also ""
The Music Site Map" gives you access to every music page.  The other
supplementary page that goes with these free music learning to read music lessons is "
Shuffle Beat
Blues, Piano". It should be studied after this page.
natural treble clef notes from one ledger line below and above the staff
natural treble clef notes on keyboard with letter and solfeggio names in C
Natural Notes On The Treble Clef
For quick reference I'm repeating this material from free music lesson 7, "What's That Note".  In the picture
below we I show all the natural notes on the treble clef from middle c one ledger line below the staff to a
one ledger line above the staff. Included is the fingering for the right hand and the letter names of the
notes. These are the notes you would use to play melody in the key of C major. Below that I show the
same notes on the keyboard. I show letter names, solfegio names and  again the fingering. For reference
I've included the picture of the numbered fingers for keyboard playing.  This exercise covers about one
and one half octaves so you need to learn how to shift your hand up and down the keyboard. Playing up
the keyboard, you play three to four keys and then move your thumb under your fingers to change hand
position. Playing down the keyboard, you play three to four fingers and then move the third or fourth finger
over your thumb to change hand position. Practice playing the exercise below. I've given you a midi sound
sample so you can hear how it sounds. Learning it will teach you all the natural notes on the treble clef and
get you ready to play the triplet ballad on keyboard.
fingers of the left and right hand numbered for keyboard playing
click on the player to activate
Playing The Triplet Ballad
You learned the notes that you will use in the triplet ballad in the above exercise. You also learned how to
change hand position going up and down the keyboard. Going up you move the thumb under the fingers
to the new key position. Going down you move the appropriate finger over the thumb to the new key
position. Which key you move to, how many keys you play in each position and which finger you use on
the way down depends on the song. The lead sheet for the "Triplet Ballad" below gives you the fingering to
play up and down the range of notes. Try playing the lead. Think of the word mer-i-ly as you play the three
notes on one beat. I've also given you a midi sound sample to listen to get the right feeling for the triplets.
click on the player
Triplet Ballad Lead
Triplet Ballad Chords
The left hand keyboard chord pictures for the triplet ballad are below. I use inverted forms for A minor, G7
and F major to allow you to play the chords with a minimum shifting of position and fingers. Look at the
lead sheet for the Triplet Ballad to see the order for playing the chords. Practice switching from chord to
until you can do it smoothly. Then try playing along to your right hand playing of the melody with the left
hand chords. First try playing just one chord per beat and then try playing three chords to a beat as
triplets. I've given you midi sound samples below for both styles.
C major
A minor
D minor
C major
click on the player
click on the player
Triplet Ballad Easy
Triplet Ballad Intermediate
Playing The Tied Triplet Ballad
The lead sheet for the Tied Triplet Ballad is below. Below that is the lead midi. You use the word mer-i-ly to
learn the tied triplet. Say mer aloud i silently and ly aloud and you have the sound of the tied triplet. Also
listen to the sound sample. Tied triplets eventually have to be felt not counted. Note the changes in
fingering because of the tied notes. It uses the same chords as the "Triplet Ballad" above. Once you have
mastered the melody, try backing it up with chords.
©2004 - 2009
click on the player
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