The last chord of a piece of music I wrote has an arpeggio in the right hand and not in the left. I want the top note in the right chord to fall on the beat so that it matches with the chord in the left hand. For that to happen, the other notes would have to come before the beat.

What is the correct way to notate this?

I thought about using grace notes, but that's probably wrong, because I want all of the notes held.

1 Answer 1


Grace notes are the proper way to do this. Including ties from each grace note to its corresponding main note indicates that each grace note should be held.

The core of the answer can be found in What's the proper piano notation for adding one note at a time to a chord and holding all the notes?, but since this specific scenario isn't addressed there, the solution being sought would look something like this:

Grace-note arpeggio

  • Musescore 3.X will interpret these grace notes by default as occurring on the beat, not before the beat. (I distinctly remember Musescore 1.X as doing the opposite, and the switch occurred in Musescore 2.0.) Do you know a way to ensure that the grace notes get played before the beat besides the trill-ending tactic of placing them at the end of the previous beat or by using words to explain this?
    – Dekkadeci
    Oct 22, 2021 at 11:57
  • 1
    @Dekkadeci As best I can tell, there is currently no way to get MuseScore to play grace notes before the beat — it seems not to be implemented. In actual musical practice, I think it would have to be explicitly stated, since there's no broad agreement about when grace notes should be played, and practice varies between eras and composers. It is permissible, if frowned upon, to place grace notes before the bar line, which would make things clear in this setting. But to do that in MuseScore requires placing them at the end of the previous beat/measure.
    – Aaron
    Oct 22, 2021 at 14:56
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    @Dekkadeci, the question is how to notation, not get Musescore to play it. Oct 22, 2021 at 19:28
  • I wish there was a better way to link duplicate question. The one has such better, more findable title that the "adding one note at a time" post. Oct 22, 2021 at 19:30
  • @MichaelCurtis - If Musescore won't play the notation as we want it to, I am greatly concerned that human players will interpret the notation the same way as Musescore.
    – Dekkadeci
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:58

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