Here's an example of ties with dots on the end tied note in a Haydn String Quartet (Op. 76 No. 2). There appear to be many differing views on how these are to be interpreted and played. What do you think, all?

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  • Please add the movement and measure numbers.
    – Aaron
    Jul 24, 2022 at 1:16
  • String Quartet No. 61 in D minor, Hoboken III:76, Allegro, first movement, several instances. My editions don't show the bar numbers., But this is not in fact specifically about Haydn, as this occurs in various other works from various times as well. I thought Haydn scholars would be the best bet for some insight into this seemingly contradictory notation.
    – andro
    Jul 24, 2022 at 1:29
  • Thanks. Please consider adding that to the question itself. It would also be helpful to know what the "differing views" are. The recordings I've listened to so far all play them exactly the same way.
    – Aaron
    Jul 24, 2022 at 1:33
  • BTW, the measures in your image are 115 – 117.
    – Aaron
    Jul 24, 2022 at 1:34
  • 2
    Ah, I think I understand. Are you asking about precisely when to release the staccato quarter notes?
    – Aaron
    Jul 24, 2022 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


The general idea of a staccato dot is to make the note concerned half as long as it usually is. So a quaver tied to a (staccato) dotted crotchet would be played for as long as just a crotchet's worth length.

I think the idea of dotting here is to ensure that the rest is 'played', and not bled into by the tied note. So it could have been written as a quaver tied across the bar to another quaver, followed by a crotchet rest. Why Haydn decided to represent his piece as he did, we'll never know, but the staccato dot is not an exact thing, so gives the player some degree of wiggle room. Trouble is, when a quartet is playing, there must be total agreement, otherwise it'll all sound sloppy. So that needs to be reached in rehearsals, mainly by feel rather than counting.

My violin teacher from years gone by would have replaced that rest by a sniff - of pre-determined length! But certainly longer than merely a quaver's value.

EDIT: as Alexander Woo points out, there is a crescendo marked for each as well, so the cut-off point for each tied note needs to be orchestrated. Not sure how that affects the length of the two tied notes, but worth mentioning.

  • "sniff" as in nasal inhalation?
    – phoog
    Jul 24, 2022 at 10:06
  • @phoog - don't know any other 'sniff'.
    – Tim
    Jul 24, 2022 at 11:18
  • Me neither, but there was always the possibility that there was some sniff I hadn't heard of. One of my music teachers when I was in my mid teens had a very effective sniff for a preparation and cue when he was conducting from the keyboard. He did it very loudly in rehearsals and silently in performances.
    – phoog
    Jul 24, 2022 at 11:42
  • 1
    The crescendo on the note is part of the gesture - I think a better answer would also incorporate that. Jul 24, 2022 at 14:36

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