Here is an extract from Passacaglia by Handel/Halvorsen (inspired from Handel)

The score is here just in case : https://sheets-piano.ru/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Handel-Halvorsen-Passacaglia.pdf

At measure 42, is it the intention of writer/should we play the A of right hand during the full measure, or should we stop playing it in the rest of the measure once the left hand is playing the A.

That is : should we play : right hand : A until the left hand plays the A, and immediatly after the A from the left hand, stop playing the A for the rest of the measure ?

Of course, I could put again the right hand at the same time of the left hand, but it would be complex for free. ->Is it an intention of the writer to write in this kind of way ?

My question is generic because this idea appears sometimes, in many scores: should we keep the note played by a given hand when the other hand "replaces it" during one note ?

enter image description here

  • Personally, I think it's pretty unlikely that a listener can hear whether the A is sustained for the last beat and a half of the bar. I feel like notation like this is really for the composer's/arranger's sake, not necessarily to be taken literally. May 25, 2021 at 3:15

4 Answers 4


I would use the pedal, I think, in this piece and that would sustain the A for the whole measure and also allow it to be re-articulated by the left hand.

If you don’t want to use the pedal, I would hold the A with RH, then release just before the LH plays it and then put RH back on the note while LH still has the key down to hold it for the rest of the measure.

  • Is sostenuto pedal any good here?
    – fraxinus
    May 24, 2021 at 8:46
  • @fraximus Could be. I think the timing would be difficult but it would certainly do the job if used correctly May 24, 2021 at 13:35

Note that this is piano arrangement of a composition (as written by Halvorsen) for violin and viola. Two instruments could play the the measure in question with no problem, while on piano you need to find some way to recreate the effect – e.g. as Todd suggested, using a pedal.

It is not uncommon that arrangements contain some seemingly unplayable or awkward structures, that however help you to understand better the original author intent.


Brahms's late solo piano pieces gleefully commit the same "error," even in the esteemed Henle edition. He, and modern editors, expected pianists to understand that a restrike doesn't invalidate what was already sounding. Notating it fussily would make it both harder to read and harder to understand the intent. Just use the damper pedal, both in Brahms and in this example where it's implied by the low note starting each bar.


You could also simply play the A again with the right hand instead of the left; of course you should try to make it sound "even" with the rest of the line in the left hand.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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