I'm trying to write in MuseScore Rachmaninoff's transcription of Tchaikovsky's lullaby. But there is this section that puzzles me a bit in terms of voicing:

Excerpt of the score and the problematic section highlighted

No matter how I try to separate the different "voices" in the highlighted section, somehow it does add up or doesn't align with the depicted score.

For instance here is an attempt:

First attempt

...but parsed this way, the "blue" voice doesn't work. Should I consider adding a 4th voice?

Could anyone help me understand how the voicing works here? It would help me a lot to understand what is intended here in terms of melody. They seem quite intricate.

Thank you

  • 1
    There is no rule that a piece has to be neatly divisible into voices.
    – PiedPiper
    Jun 2, 2023 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


Here is Tchaikovsky's original:

Tchaikovsky "Lullaby", mm. 28–30

This reveals five voices:

  • The vocal line
  • The "soprano" piano line (contrapuntal line)
  • The "alto" piano line (three-note scalar run)
  • The "tenor" piano line (arpeggiated chords)
  • The "bass" piano line (half-notes)

In order to compress this for solo piano, Liszt has to make some adjustments and compromises. For example:

  • For playability, the vocal melody D#4 is played by the right hand, but the following F#4 is played by the left.
  • Meanwhile, the Cx4 in Tchaikovsky's original is dropped entirely and replaced with an F#3-D#4-F#3 broken chord (including the bass's B3) in order to preserve the overall harmony and rhythmic texture.

The consequence is that the piano part cannot be cleanly divided into separate voices, since the original parts change octave, appear in seemingly different voices, and for certain appear in different hands, with some elements being dropped or re-written.

For the purposes of MuseScore, then, here's what I would most likely do:

  • Extend the red area to include the E4 and F#3.
  • Remove the B3 - A#3 from the blue area, and make it part of the green.
  • Nice answer! I'm just a bit confused: you mention Liszt, while OP is asking about Rachmaninoff. Are you referring to a different piano version in your answer, or did the names got mixed up?
    – Arsak
    Sep 10, 2023 at 9:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.