Self-learning piano and came across these measures in Cornelius Gurlitt's Albumleaves for the young, op 101 no. 8 - the fair.

Why would the line go from the treble to the bass when it’s exactly the same notes as the measure before?

eight unnumbered measures from "The Fair"


1 Answer 1


The notation suggests that at this point in the music, Gurlitt wants three voices, where the middle voice is brought out, thus requiring that what was previously the upper note of the accompaniment now becomes part of that middle voice.

The fingering makes clear that the hand still retain their same roles, but the left hand needs to voice the chords differently, to bring a little more attention to the upper note.

  • 1
    I agree with the hands and the emphasis, but I don't see three voices here; to me the top line is the melody, but Gurlitt intends the Cs in the second measure and the Es in the fourth measure to be treated as part of the melody. Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 2:55
  • 2
    @GregMartin The double stems are the indication. In the second measure, for example, the up-stems on the As designate them as the main melody. The down-stems on the Aa and the up-stems on the Es, plus the beam, indicate those as a middle voice. Were there just a single melody voice there, there would be no need for the double-stemmed As.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 2:59
  • @GregMartin It does make me a bit skeptical too, especially given the staccato marks on the eighth-note As. It's almost as if the topmost voice is supposed to release, while the "middle voice" connects the A to the E, something that of course can't be done simultaneously on piano. I'm certainly not sure how the listener who can't see the notation, is supposed to that "middle voice" ... unless the performer totally abandons the staccato. Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:43
  • @AndyBonner - can't see why the top notes can't be staccato while the lower ones are legato. Even on pno.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 8:40
  • @Tim He means that one can't simultaneously play the A staccato but also connect it smoothly to the E. The notation implies both.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 8:44

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