This is what “3-over-2″ or “3 against 2″ or “2 against 3″ looks like:
It’s a complicated rhythm that takes a while to get the hang of. In the bass clef are straight quarter notes but in the treble cleff are tuplets, which means three quarter notes played in the time of two regular ones.
So for every two quarter notes in the left hand, the right hand is supposed to play three quarter notes.
You might also encounter 3-over-2 with eighth notes:
The principle is the same: two hands playing in different rhythms.
To get a feel for this rhythm, I suggest you take a walk:
- Count 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on on each step. Left foot is 1, right foot is 2, left foot is 3, right foot is 4, and so on. You’re counting a regular 4/4 beat.
- Hold your arms by your side. Now slap both your hands on your legs as triplets: 123-123-123-123… So for each footstep, your hands hit your sides three times.
- Now alternate your hands: RLR-LRL-RLR-LRL, …
- Stopping hitting your leg with your left hand. Now your right hand is hitting the tuplets, i.e. the “3” from “3-over-2″.
- Hit your left hand twice for each foot step to play the duple notes, i.e the “2” from “3-over-2″.
It can be rather tricky at first to coordinate this, but with some practice — a long walk — you should get the hang of it.
Another approach is to count out the rhythm:
- First, count the triplets as one-and-two-and-three-and-, one-and-two-and-three-and-, …
- Then count it as one-two-and-three, one-two-and-three, …
- Play the left hand on one and the and between two and three.
- Play the right hand on one, two and three.
I hope this picture will make it a little clearer:
Once you get a feel for this rhythm, it isn’t so hard to play anymore.
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