I have only six months in playing piano. I want to learn a new sheet, but I don”t understand this notation that merges the two staffs. Can you explain to me please? notation example


4 Answers 4


It means exactly the same as the following (edited by me)

enter image description here

The original version is just a way of showing that you play in groups of three. I don't think it helps!


This particular notation is called cross-staff beaming. Perhaps nastily, it's often done without rests near each such beamed group, so consider yourself lucky that you get rests.

Playing-wise, whether the rests are there or not doesn't matter, so make sure you go RH-LH-RH in the circled group in Bar 2 and RH-rest-LH in the circled group in Bar 3.


upper staff: r.h.

lower staff: l.h.

beams are cross over the staffs, rests are additional with the notes and complementary per staff, the reading of this notation is absolutely logical, like you were playing the Konga l.h/r.h.

Advice: try to notate a rhythm for a percussion instrument like l-r-l-r or r-l-r-l and any combination and permutation, and when one hand plays the other has a rest. You will get used to read this notation by writing yourself some exercices.

  • (Because of the OP's statement «only six month in playing piano»): the five liner staff in the US is the stave in the UK.
    – Buttonwood
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 8:01

It's nothing extraordinary - just a 'shorthand' way to write out the dots. Counting 6 in a bar, bar 2 goes r.h.(1), l.h. (2), r.h. (3), l.h. (456).

Bar 3 goes r.h. (1), rest (2), l.h (3), r.h. (4), rest (5), l.h. (6).

The bar underneath - bar 7? - is the opposite to bar 3, hand-wise.

  • 1
    what do you think, Tim: isn't the interpretation of this notation quite obvious? doesn't the picture say more than all our words? Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 9:12
  • 2
    @AlbrechtHügli - obviously not obvious to all! It's the stems that must have confused the OP. Far more often, they are confined to each clef.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 9:20

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