At Sixes and Sevens (Tuplets, that Is)

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    I?m working on a piece with repeated sextuplets and septuplets.

    When I practice a piece with quintuplets (as for example

    in ?Meditation? from ?Thais?) I often mutter ?hippopotamus? under my

    breath to make sure I am playing the notes evenly within the group.

    Anybody have any tricks for keeping these sixes and sevens even?


    When I was studying flamenco, my teacher suggested “strawberry strawberry” for

    sextuplets. For sevenths, what about “happy hippopotamus”? For fives, I usually use



    Groups of short words also work: For sevens, try Jack and Jill went up a hill, or Lift up your heads O ye gates; for sixes: My cup runneth over or Jonathan Appleseed; for fives; Ave Maria, rain in the city, gratia plena,Philadelphia- rhythmic phrases abound in poetry and you could be influencing your spiritual side whilst playing, if you wish.


    I also have used hippopotamus. For seven I remember using alligatorcrocodile and paralegalassistant, and of course, in his music, carlosalzedo is perfect for five.

    I have also created a verbal solfege for saying pedals out loud for every position.

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