I'm working on Rachmaninoff's piano prelude Op 32 No 10, and I'm having trouble combining the left and right hand on m. 47 (screenshot below).

Basically, I can't figure out which right hand notes line up with the left hand accompaniment. There's just too much going on here for me to calculate it correctly. The time signature is "C" so I'm already confused because as far as I can tell these notes don't even add up to 4 quarter notes. How can I parse this so I can tell how to play it?

I will note that the C appears again later in the piece, so is it implied that the time signature changed in the middle where this bit is? I can't find any such indication, though.

Rachmaninoff Prelude op. 32 no. 10, m. 47

  • I think what confused you was the “double” notes on the right hand, whereas these should actually be triples. :) Once you see triples there, it would suddenly align in your mind perfectly.
    – jytou
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 23:09

2 Answers 2

  • The time signature changes to 3/4 two measures before the one in question.
  • The left-hand part is in sextuplets per quarter note, and the left hand is in sextuplets per eighth note. Thus, there is a metrical 2:1 relationship between the two hands.

So it should line up as shown below — the note heads (or rests) in red are played together:

Rhythmic alignment of m. 47

  • OMG I could NOT find that time signature!!! Thank you. This is a really well made graphic assistant. Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 6:33
  • I guess I was really confused by this measure because I didn't think you could have a sextuplet of 4 notes....I thought that was 6 notes, played as 4....I didn't really know what to call 4 notes played as 6, or how to count it. I'm still not sure I understand that part. I'm sitting here counting and still struggling to get this to come out to 3 quarter notes. Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 6:39
  • 1
    @temporary_user_name The left hand is six sixteenth-notes per quarter note. So what you see is and eighth-note (= 2 sixteenths), followed by a sixteenth, tied to another eighth (= 2 sixteenths), and then another sixteenth: thus, the quarter-note is divided into six equal parts, each represented by a sixteenth-note.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 6:59
  • @temporary_user_name Another way to look at it is that both LH and RH are divided into twelve 32nd notes per quarter note (= six 32nd notes per eighth-note). Now the LH can be viewed as an eighth note (= four 32nds), followed by a sixteenth (= two 32nds). That's the first half beat, and the rest are the same, ignoring the ties. This is what is shown by the annotated image: the first chord in the LH goes with four 32nds in the RH, etc.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 7:04

@Aaron beat me to the punch on this one (+1) but I will share this image I created that shows how the notes line up in the original image. You can see that the alignment is very good between the staves. My hand drawn lines not as much ;)

enter image description here


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