Take the 2-minute tour ×
Musical Practice & Performance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I recently stumbled across a piece of music for the piano that confused me a little. original

rearranged

The first image is how I found the score, the second is how I rearranged it myself.

How I usually find pieces, is that the right hand takes the treble clef, and the left hand the bass clef. If this is the case then the top example would be very unpractical, but perhaps it is grouped by how the notes harmonically fit?

Personally I find it more comfortable when reading it like the bottom example. But there could be a good reason for the arrangement of the notes like above.

Is there a rule how to write/divide the notes between the clefs? Or are there guidelines for how this is usually written? And why is it done that way?

For those interested in the piece it is Ruins from Homestuck

share|improve this question
    
To illustrate the answer below, it's entirely reasonable to finger this so: 5-1 left hand on first two notes, 1-2-5 right hand on next three, and 2 left hand on the last G. This avoids the fairly large stretch if the first three notes are taken in the left hand. Personally, I would probably play it 3-1 l, 1-2-4 r, 2 l. –  BobRodes Feb 27 at 18:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

In piano, the staffs usually signifies what hand plays what note where the lower staff would be your left hand and the upper staff would be your right hand. While the clefs are important, you may see the same two clefs on a grand staff. In Imagine you can see there are two bass clefs because the piano part is low. It is kind of an unwritten rule of thumb in piano and I can see some people who don't play piano notating it that way thinking it fits better in the staff.

Without seeing more of the piece it could make sense that the G in the treble clef is alone because the next measure has notes in the treble clef that are higher and would make it easier to play.

That being said if it is easier to play it with your right hand do it. Just because it is notated in the bass clef does not mean it was the intent of whoever wrote it to be played in the left hand. Do what feels comfortable.

share|improve this answer
7  
Great answer. It's perhaps helpful to add that the first example also shows the meter far better than the second example. Keeping the three eighth notes of the second beat in one beamed group is much easier to read from a metric perspective. –  Pat Muchmore Feb 27 at 18:32
    
@PatMuchmore Did not notice that on the first pass though. –  Dom Feb 27 at 18:37
    
Dom, thanks for the great answer! @PatMuchmore I just realized in 12/8 one beat is 3 8th notes. When keeping that in mind the top notation seems to make more sense to me, thanks again. –  Sam Feb 28 at 9:15

If one wants to use staff association as a strong hand indication while retaining rhythmically helpful grouping, one can use notation like the following:

beaming across staves

share|improve this answer
    
You cannot connect the beam on two different staffs. Also the are now too many beats in the top staff (14 instead of 12) and too few in the bottom staff (10 instead of 12) –  Dom Jul 19 at 21:31

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.