The attached image is the first couple of bars from the James Bond theme – No Time to Die:

first two bars of "No Time to Die" transcribed for piano

The notes in yellow sound to me like they are played with a slight accent/emphasis, and I'm trying to find the correct way to mark this. Also, the notes in blue seem to be played slightly softer.

I am thinking the yellow notes could be described as rinforzando but I'm not sure if this can be applied to a single note.

2 Answers 2


In piano music, the tenuto sign (shown below) is often used for adding "weight" to a note but without the force of a full accent.

Tenuto mark
(Image source: David Darling)

It's generally a given that repeated notes like the ones in blue are deemphasized in comparison to the moving (i.e., melody) part. So there's no need to mark them.

Were you to write as shown below, I would understand exactly how to play it: slight emphasis on the marked notes, and keep the repeated notes quieter than the "main" notes.

OP score with tenuto marks

Just as a point of interest, there is a "reverse accent" symbol, which can be read about in What should I do about composing 'soft' accents for piano? and Soft note marking. It would be out of place as well as unnecessary in the particular music asked about here.


An accent symbol (>) indicates that a note has some accent; it doesn't specify exactly how much accent. So I don't see a problem with using the full accent symbol on the yellow notes, and leaving the performer to interpret an appropriate amount of extra emphasis.

The way that I play these bars is by holding the uncoloured notes slightly longer, and the blue notes slightly shorter than what is literally notated. This is so that the sound of the uncoloured notes overlaps with the onset of the notes marked in blue, and so that there is slight a gap before the uncoloured notes. This makes the uncoloured notes stand out more than the blue ones, which I think is the effect that you want to express.
This can be indicated with slurs connecting to the pairs of notes.

Adding these accents and slurs to the score will look something like this:

first two bars of "No Time to Die" (treble clef only) - slurs and accent symbols added

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