Triplets Drums Sound – How Do They Sound

Posted by Mike Schumacher

What do triplets sound like on the drum?

In this article, we will discuss triplets and how to apply them on the drums.

What is triplets?

The triplets technique is the repetition of three notes being played in succession and they can either be played with a single drum, or on an instrument such as a piano or guitar.

Triplets of any kind are a great technique to implement on your drums and they are useful for experimenting with different sounds, shapes, dynamics and techniques.

They can be used with different drums such as:

  • single ride cymbal (usually played with your back to the kit or under your leg)
  • pipa or rikari
  • The kick drum or all percussion

Techniques for triplets

The triplets drum technique can be applied to any and every kind of technique and genre of music.

Types of triplets

best beginner drum sets

Now lets get to the more technical side of triplets, and these are the types of triplets that you can choose to use.

In this section, you will find many different ways to use triads in your drum set.

Just a note before we continue, the term “triplets” is often used to describe the process of playing three notes in succession.

Triplets, as we will show in this section, are a different type of triplets that are not connected together in time. The way they are labelled here is a helpful description.

Rhythmic triplets

Rhythmic triplets are the most common type of triplets used in drum technique and they are easier to play and therefore, easier to learn.

For example, the triplets technique can be used on the rimshot.

A rimshot is a drum hit that involves hitting the rim of the drum. The rim of a drum is the small area between the outer surface of the drum and the inner surface of the head.

Traditionally, when playing the rimshot, you would hit the rim on the left-hand side of the drum (i.e. the 1st note) and then hit the rim on the right-hand side of the drum (i.e. the 2nd note) before finishing off by hitting the rim on the right-hand side of the drum (i.e. the 3rd note) and then ending off with the rim on the left-hand side of the drum (i.e. the 4th note).

Nowadays, in the music world, this is a very common technique and it is often used as a sound effect or to introduce the drums into the song, such as in hip-hop.

When using this technique, you are playing three notes in succession, and it is the most common example of the triplets technique.

When you use this technique with the rimshot, you play the 1st note (the 1), and then the 2nd note (the 2), and then the 3rd note (the 3), and then finally you finish off with the 4th note (the 4).

In this way, you are playing three notes in succession, and they are called rhythmic triplets.

Rhythmic triplets are also the most common form of triplets used in music. You can easily find rhythmic triplets on most modern day music samplers.

These are the most common form of triplets.

Piano triplets

Piano triplets are the more difficult of the two to play and they take more practice and skill to master.

This technique consists of playing three notes in succession, and they are played in sequence.

In this way, you are playing the 1st note (the 1), the 2nd note (the 2) and then the 3rd note (the 3) in succession.

A perfect example of this technique is when a piano player is playing the scales for example G, F and C (known as the tri-key triad) on a piano and hitting these keys in succession.

One key is called the root note, and the other two keys are called the augmented (or minor) keys.

These are the three notes you should hit in succession as a piano player and that is called a tri-key triad.

Piano triads are the more difficult form of triplets and you can also learn them on the drums.

Drum triplets

Drum triads are formed by playing three consecutive notes in sequence.

For example, a drum player would be playing the 1st note (the 1), the 2nd note (the 2) and then the 3rd note (the 3).

This technique is similar to the piano triplets, but with drums you are playing 3 consecutive notes in sequence.

You can form the triad into one note by hitting the 1st note and the 3rd note and then the 2nd note and the 3rd note and so on.

This is the easiest form of triplets to play, as it does not require quite so much practice and skill as the piano triplets, but it is more challenging than the piano triplets.

Technique overview

Bouncing the drum is the first step in the drumming technique.

When you want to play the first note of a triplet, the drum player will first play a whole note as a single sound, followed by a triplet itself.

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