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I'm learning to play the guitar using notes. And there is something I completely don't get (and I haven't seen explanation anywhere). What is the difference between the note and the rest of certain duration vs the note and the tie. Because usually if you have a rest note the previous note isn't muted, right ? So it seems to me that the rest is equivalent to the tie.

Can you you clarify this for me.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The tie adds duration. A note tied to another note equals both added together. No stopping. (e.g. Two quarter notes tied together equals a half note.) A rest between the two notes means you stop (mute, I guess you could say) and then play it again. It has different purposes.

For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tie_(music) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rest_(music)

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Thanks, I've read the wikipedia pages. But I don't think I've ever saw that you supposed to stop/mute the sounding strings when having a rest note. Although now, after doing another google search it looks like that's what needs to be done. –  sega_sai Sep 9 '13 at 0:39
sorry I was little confused with your terminology, so I just explained what I could. btw it's just called a rest. Do you happen to have any sheet music in particular you're wondering about? –  Zack Sep 9 '13 at 1:06
Just want to clarify here that a tie does not add duration, it merely links two notes together such that the pitch or sound is sustained through the full duration of each note. A dot adds duration. Also, a guitarist can still play notes while muted, so if you see a rest, that means to be silent for the appropriate duration. In that sense you are stopping the strings from vibrating instead of merely muting them. –  jjmusicnotes Sep 9 '13 at 18:32
Good point well made, jjm. –  Tim Sep 9 '13 at 19:26
@jjmusicnotes I totally agree. That's what I meant. Sorry for any confusion –  Zack Sep 10 '13 at 2:13

Generally there are three places in written music where a tie will be needed.

  1. Where there is no note shape for a particular note length, as in duration one and three quarter beats. This could be written as a one beat tied to a half beat tied to a quarter (crotchet - quaver- semiquaver).(Yes, I know about double dots, but that's not my point).
  2. Where a long note lasts more than a whole bar. This could be a 6 beat note in 4/4 time, where a semibreve will be tied to a minim.(4 beat - 2 beat)
  3. Sadly going out of fashion, where there's for instance, a 2 beat note lasting from beat 2 to beat 3 in a 4/4 bar.This bar may be written crotchet - crotchet tied to crotchet - crotchet. The idea being in 4/4 any bar can be split visually into half. This idea shows up 'push' notes.

Rests, on the other hand, are exactly what they say - a 1 beat rest is 1 beat's worth of silence and silence is so important in music.

With guitar, sometimes the rest is superfluous as the note played previously has decayed to silence anyway, and the same thing in reverse with long notes shown with ties.

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In my experience, double dots are pretty rare anyway. Theoretically they're useful, but if you're sightreading at speed a tied note is much easier to follow. –  Faelkle Sep 9 '13 at 12:40

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