# Why are there 8/4 notes in a 4/4 time signature?

I fought also link so you can see in proper quality This is the sheet! I posted above photo of first page only

https://musescore.com/user/24625996/scores/4544086

The time signature is 4/4, but if I sum up the total of notes + rests in the first measure it is 8/4
I understand it is like a triplet kind of (don't know the exact term)
I get it that 1/8th rest + 1/4 note + 1/8 note should be played in 1/4 time but why? There is no notation there.

Also the last line has a number six grouping a couple of 1/32 notes

Please refer me to the theory part of this and explain more. I can play first line fine, second line I do not know when to match right and left hand exactly due to complicated time

• I have a bad feeling this is a duplicate, but I don't know of which question(s) off the top of my head. Apr 22 at 12:19
• I really don't get why so many people insist on sharing their ugly transcriptions when they are clearly not able to write proper scores. Do they even try to read what they "publish"? Apr 22 at 12:32
• @KristiJorgji if you can rate it, just give it 0 stars, and if you can comment, just add the link to this post. Apr 22 at 12:48
• The lesson here is you can’t trust community scores on Musescore’s platform. The people who create them might be geniuses or they might have many gaps in their knowledge of notation. This is definitely an example of the latter. So many things are wrong on just that one page. Apr 22 at 13:59
• We get questions like this ("Why can't I read this notation in this sheet music I bought online?") not infrequently on this Stack, and quite often the answer is "It's not your fault, the notation is crap." Someone should start a page to collect them. Apr 22 at 14:01

The notation is unhelpful. In the first bar of the piece there are two voices; Voice 1 plays four quarter notes, Voice 2 plays a pattern consisting of 4 x {eighth note rest then eighth-note}.

The reason it's confusing to read is that both voices are sticks up - usual (helpful!) convention is to have voice 1 and voice 2 with sticks going in opposite directions to make the distinction between the two voices really clear.

If you look carefully at bar 5 onwards you'll see it's still two voices, like the opening of the piece, but all the voices are notated sticks up, which obscures the fact that there are two-voices.

The original track is here Archangel and it looks as though the transcriber should have written eight quavers in the first bar and used tenuto accents over the first quaver of each quaver pair. It's definitely in 4/4 time, not 12/8

• Thanks! I was playing first line like this 1/8th rest + 1/4 note + 1/8 note in a 1/4 time. Please refer me more to voices theory, how can I know what to play exactly with right hand then and left one (especially in 2nd line and below). I am currently playing 2nd line and below with gut feeling, sounds good but crazy hard... Would love to know the theory and be able understand what is meant with this how to play it properly Apr 22 at 12:04
• I think I understand now that for example line 2 left hand can either play 2 x 2/4 notes or the other voice 1/8 rest + 2x 1/16 + 2 x 1/4 notes. So my question is here, which voice should I play ? What does it mean exactly 2 voices (I am totally begginer to theory). Does it mean this can be played by 2 pianos at same time ? I cannot play both voices at once with left hand in this example .. right ? I was kind of playing struggling to play 2/4 note then jump hand play the rest after the 1/8 pause with pedal pressed and so on Apr 22 at 12:15
• I think you'd need to go through this beat-by-beat and decide whether each note is voice 1 or voice 2. Or you could find the original music (not someone's "transcription"). Apr 22 at 12:43
• @KristiJorgji There isn't really much "theory" to voices. It's essentially a duette, but both parts have been mashed together onto one grand staff, without indicating which part is which. Ideally you need four hands to play it properly! Apr 22 at 13:22
• Three voices if you count the whole notes. Might've been clearer to move these to the lower staff. (Making the quarter-note stems go down would also help, but would interfere with those whole notes, hence another reason to move them to the lower staff. Maybe with a bracket below them to indicate that they should still be played with the right hand...) Apr 22 at 21:04

Unclear and not proper notation. I agree with Brian Thomas.

In bar 5 you can see that the fourth notes correspond exactly with the half notes (1st and 3rd beat) and the eighth rests and eighth notes in the r.h. fit exactly with the eighth and sixteenth in the l.h. So the key of the true interpretation of this horrible notation is to find in measure 5 (rhythmically and arithmetically).

• Here is free to read the piece musescore.com/user/24625996/scores/4544086 How can I play measure 48 (page 4) especially left hand ? Are there 2 voices in the left hand ? I am kind of trying to play all of them lol in left hand which doubles the tempo makes it crazy hard get all notes there.. Apr 22 at 15:05

I suspect this is converted from a scan. Or maybe a font problem.

If you assume that all those 8th rests are actually meant to be numbers '3' denoting triplets, it makes a lot more sense.

Edit. Having listened to the song, as detailed by @Tanner Swett in their comment, I acknowledge that it's merely incompetent notation.

• No it is exactly like that. I found the original place where I bought before some time ago the sheet here: musescore.com/user/24625996/scores/4544086 Is free to read, check first page that I posted a photo here Apr 22 at 13:42
• In the last line they have even sixplets (if such thing exist i am beginer..) check down marked with 6 under Apr 22 at 13:51
• I thought that too. Countering the dv! And - looking at where the crotchets are at the end of some bars, it makes sense!
– Tim
Apr 22 at 14:45
• MuseScore is not a terribly reliable source. Triplets are the only feasible answer Apr 22 at 15:29
• I listened to a bit of the original piece ("Archangel" by Two Steps From Hell). The notes are definitely in straight time, not triplets. If I were to transcribe it, I'd transcribe these as 8th notes (eight per measure) with a staccato dot on every second note. This transcriber apparently noticed that every second note of each beat is half as long as the first, but mistakenly wrote the notes as 4th and 8th notes, rather than as 8th notes with the second one staccato, or as an 8th note followed by a 16th note and 16th rest. (Given the pedal throughout, one wonders why they bothered at all.) Apr 22 at 20:39