The triangle is a percussion instrument, and as such, it produces a sound when struck. A triangle can be used as a bell, to produce a clear, sharp tone, as a drum, to keep the beat, or both simultaneously. This instrument has a long history. It is a metallic triangle supported by a support, made of metal or wood, or a rope that connects it with the musician's hand. To play it, you can choose from a variety of drumsticks (thin or thick, metal or wooden sticks). Learning to play the triangle is a very good way to progress as a percussionist, as you will hone your skills and add a new item to the list of percussion instruments you can play.
Part 1 of 4: Choosing a Triangle and Learning How to Hold It
Step 1. Choose a triangle
These instruments are made of different sizes and materials, as there are different types of metal alloys.
- Choose a triangle whose sound suits the type of music you want to play.
- You can make any triangle sound very loud or very slow.
- You can strike the triangle in different zones to get a small variety of sounds, called "light" or "deep" and "weak" or "full."
Step 2. Hold the triangle firmly
Make sure it is not in danger of falling while you are touching it.
- If you choose to hold it with a string, your fingers should be in an “O” shape so that the string and triangle can move freely.
- If you prefer another option, you can support it with a stand made of metal or wood.
Step 3. You should not touch the triangle
Whichever option you choose, make sure that no part of your body is in contact with the metal body of the triangle.
Any contact between your skin and the triangle will interfere and decrease the sound
Step 4. Hold the triangle at eye level (or just below), about 1 foot (30 cm) from your face
Being in this position will allow you to simultaneously look at the triangle, your music, and the conductor, if you are in a performance.
Audiences will enjoy watching you play, so try to smile (especially if you're soloing!)
Part 2 of 4: Playing the Triangle
Step 1. Pick a drumstick
Select the one that gives you the tone and percussion sound you want for the piece you will be playing.
- You can choose thick wooden rods, metal rods, or even thinner rods, which will give you a dynamic variety of shades.
- Depending on the type of music you are playing, you may want to use more than one type of drumstick, or you may want to alternate between them.
Step 2. Touch the triangle
You can hit it in at least three different places, depending on the sound you prefer.
- You can touch it on the outside, near the top or near the bottom corner, or on the inside, near the bottom.
- If you want to produce a lot of nice harmonic sounds, hold the rod so that it makes a 45 ° angle with the side of the triangle.
- If you want to learn other ways to play the triangle, you can refer to part 4 of this article: “Read and play the triangle”.
Step 3. Muffle the sound
Depending on the length of the note, you will need to muffle (or outright stop) the sound.
To do this, press the side of the triangle that resonates using two fingers of the hand that is not holding the rod (s)
Part 3 of 4: Trill
Step 1. Make a trill with two sides of the triangle
To do this, you must touch the inner side of two adjacent bars of the triangle.
- Grab the stick and play evenly but quickly the two side bars of the triangle, or one of the side bars with the bottom bar.
- Make sure your movement is even and rhythmic.
- To produce a full sound, the drumstick must form a 45 ° angle when it strikes the triangle.
Step 2. Make a trill with the three sides of the triangle
You must hit the three bars of the triangle, with a fast and circular movement.
Grab the stick and play the three bars of the triangle in the same order, quickly and rhythmically
Step 3. Change the volume of the trill
Just like when you play other percussion instruments, it is very important that you are able to make your trill sound loud or low without missing a beat.
Part 4 of 4: Read and Play the Triangle
Step 1. Learn to read the musical notation of the triangle
Notes are written on percussion staves, often with triangular musical notes, although standard musical notes are sometimes used.
- Since the intonation of the triangle does not vary, the notes will appear on the same line.
- Triangles do have rhythm, so their notes can be round, black or white, eighth notes, etc.
- As the length of the notes decreases, playing the triangle becomes more difficult.
Step 2. Practice hitting the triangle with different rhythmic patterns
Being able to read the musical notation of this instrument implies knowing how to hit it with the appropriate force and rhythm as indicated by the staff and / or the conductor.
Step 3. Learn to percuss with different accents
In music, accentuation refers to how hard you play a note. To play the triangle, you must learn the difference between the strong accent (>), simply called the accent; the medium (-), called tenuto, and the staccato (•).
- The strong accent is produced by hitting the triangle very hard and very fast.
- The medium accent is produced by hitting the triangle very fast but with moderate force.
- Stacatto occurs by hitting the triangle even faster, with moderate force, and muffling the sound almost immediately after hitting.
Step 4. Learn how to hit it to produce sounds of different intensity
Although the triangle is a percussion instrument, to play it you must know how to make its tone soft or strong.
- Increase the force with which you hit the triangle or even choose another stick if you want the intensity of the tone to increase to strong (forte), very strong (double forte) or stronger (fortissimo).
- Decrease the force with which you hit the triangle or even choose another rod if you want the intensity of the tone to decrease to weak (piano), very weak (double piano) or weaker (pianissimo).
Step 5. Practice the flourishes
A flourish is a set of notes that is played before the first note of the measure is played, as an improvisation.
Flourishing a triangle is easier if you place it on a music stand, clipped so that it hangs in the air, and use two equal drumsticks to play it
- Clean the triangle after use, as it can become dusty, greasy, and after a while, rust.
- To achieve a clear and bright sound, it is best to play the triangle on the outside, at the top (very close to the string).
- If you hit in the middle of one of the bars, you may get a shrill sound.
- For the best sound, the string you are holding the triangle with should be at least 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) long.
- If you want the triangle to sound consistently, practice tapping it in the same spot over and over again.
- Practice regularly, if necessary, with a metronome.
- The triangle, like the piano, guitar or harp, is an instrument, so you can choose and invest in both triangles made of various materials and different sticks.
- Always hold the triangle string firmly.