I found this very interesting notation in Wiklund's first piano concerto, final bars of movement 1 (the transcription for two pianos):

extract from Wiklund's piano concerto

See the final left-hand bars: the low E is sustained over a clef change, then into the next bar where the two clefs are stacked atop each other, both applying to one note.

I have never seen that notation before and I doubt that many music notation programs would support it. So that sparked my curiosity; how would a modern musician notate the same passage? Is the only alternative to move the high B to the right-hand stave?

  • 1
    Concerning whether music notation programs could produce this output: I suspect you could induce Lilypond to produce that output if you really wanted to. But I'm not experienced enough with it to be able to produce a working example quickly. Dec 24, 2021 at 14:43
  • Any notation program could easily produce it, as long as it had non-functional symbols available of treble and bass clef. Playback would need to be cheated though.
    – Laurence
    Dec 24, 2021 at 20:30
  • @LaurencePayne Definitely true, I meant that I doubt any software supports it natively.
    – KeizerHarm
    Dec 24, 2021 at 21:29

2 Answers 2


3 alternatives to that notation that I can notate with Musescore are these:

  • Cross-staff the lower staff's uppermost B so the slurred beam in the lower staff of the 3rd last measure connects a chord in the lower staff with a note in the upper staff
  • Use 3 staves instead of 2 (heck, this also looks appropriate for the 4th last measure)
  • Notate the lower staff's uppermost B with 4 ledger lines in the bass clef instead of using the treble clef

I don't have the greatest clue which of these is the best, but given that I had to count out the ledger lines in order to determine what the bottommost notes are (turns out they're E's), I personally would not want to read my last option.


Occasionally, this can be a useful and clear way to notate something which would otherwise look messy. I don't think it's a particularly 'old' way.

Any notation program that supports clef symbols as simple, non-functioning graphic objects could notate this. Playback would be another matter! (Though easily enough achieved by muting the displayed notes and adding them in an additional, hidden voice).

Here's a practical alternative. I suspect I prefer it as notation. But it's not fun getting the ties to go where you want them. in Sibelius at any rate! (You'll note that I copped out of the challenge. Give it a try in YOUR notation program.)

enter image description here

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