On piano, when playing a long note followed by an overlapping shorter note or vice versa, what is this called? I know this is an extremely common thing in piano music, but I don't know what it's called in music theory. Also, does anyone know how to do this in finale notepad?

score excerpt: dotted-quarter, eighth, quarter written above dotted half

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    Two part writing/playing? – Tim Jun 4 at 15:35
  • What is the overlap? Do you mean the dotted quarter, eighth, quarter is "overlapping" the dotted half note? – Michael Curtis Jun 4 at 16:24
  • Are you asking about the rhythm or about the multiple "layers of melody" played at the same time in different octaves? – Johannes Jun 4 at 23:23

They are called voices, and according to the Finale web site, Finale Notepad has a "layer" system for writing multiple voices.


Here's an example picture from some other answer multiple voices

The red circle highlights how notes overlap.

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    Genuinely surprised this hasn't been asked before. But several searches turned up nothing. Good, concise answer. – Aaron Jun 4 at 15:49
  • Thank you so much. – Natia Jun 4 at 16:07
  • @Natia Welcome to Music.SE! If this answer did in fact answer your question sufficiently, I invite you to click the checkmark next to the answer to accept it. Of course, feel free to wait a bit for other answers to come in. – Richard Jun 4 at 18:27

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