I need opinions on the notation of cross-staff notes in piano arpeggios. I chose not to write the usual rests so that my page would have a clean look. I cannot beam the notes of the whole arpeggio because I am using quarter notes. The piece is arranged for advanced beginners. See the image. Is it ok to discard the rests?

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  • to me this notation seems clear. Jan 16, 2021 at 17:44
  • What rests? You have two completely uninterrupted voices, there is no need to complicate things with rests even if you do switch staffs. Jan 18, 2021 at 8:20
  • Thank you all. There is not complete agreement here, so I will go with my first instinct--to omit the rests. Kilian, it is standard in piano music put a rest on beat 1 of measure 2 in bass clef, and on beats 2 & 3 (low on the staff) in treble. I am willing to break this rule and your response reinforced that decision. Thanks. Jan 19, 2021 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


No, it's not ok to discard the rests in this case. And honestly, It'd be far more readable if you put the E on a ledger line in the bass staff. Unless for some reason you absolutely want them to play that with the right hand?

  • Thank you. Yes the E should be played with the RH because of the LH finger 4 on the low E . Also, it's a beginner piece and some kids may not be able to stretch to the octave. Jan 16, 2021 at 16:10
  • 1
    Without the rest of the context of the measure before the excerpt, I'd rather use the pinky for the E labelled with the ring finger.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jan 16, 2021 at 19:33
  • Beginners may have a problem releasing the E in the right hand without releasing the G as well. But perhaps that is a good teaching point.
    – Peter
    Jan 17, 2021 at 10:11

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