I wanted to learn Chopin's Nocturne Op 9 No 1. In most cases, the note values add up to the time signature of 6/4. However, in measure 6 of the right hand part, I counted the note values of the lower voice (stems point down) and it does not fully occupy a bar of 6/4 time.

score with a measure "missing" a dotted half note rest

How am I supposed to play it? On the version provided by virtualsheetmusic.com, there is a dotted half rest to fill in the gap. MuseScore hides the dotted half rest. Why was MuseScore designed like that?

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    Don't really understand your question. Whoever used musescore to do the engraving must have chosen to hide the rest. Most editions exclude the rest, though some include it. You can browse many editions at chopinonline.ac.uk/ocve. But question about how musescore was designed would have to be directed to musescore.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 8:05
  • @Aaron "Most editions exclude the rest": do you know whether there are any sources that show whether Chopin included the rest? (I'd guess that the omission reflects his practice because normally one would expect it to be included, but I don't have time right now to look myself.)
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 8:15
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    @phoog There is no autograph, but most editions, both on IMSLP and the Chopin Variorum, which is linked in my previous comment, omit the rest.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 8:17
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    M6? I see nothing wrong. It all lines up and counts perfectly. Play it so the notes aligned vertically go together. Anacruces are usually not counted as m1, though. Do you mean 1st bar on line 3?
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 12:43
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    @Tim You're right that the anacrusis shouldn't be counted as measure 1, but in this score the measure numbers are shown at the start of each line. Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


A dotted half rest is not printed for the lower voice in the upper staff at the start of that measure, because it is unnecessary, and the score is much neater without it. The pianist can see when to play that D-flat because it's at the half-way point in the measure; it lines up with the beam group in the lower staff.

Use of Rests
To keep the stave as uncluttered as possible, use rests sparingly for additional parts: when both hands are already playing the pianist does not want to read extra rests, except to clarify the placing of additional parts that have independent rhythm.

— Gould, Behind Bars - Keyboard / Part-writing, pp. 311–312 ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ

  • "except to clarify the placing of additional parts that have independent rhythm": to my eye, at least, that is exactly why the rest is better included than omitted.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 17:17
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    @phoog Perhaps the long note in the upper voice should be written as a dotted minim tied to a mimim tied to quaver? Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 17:34
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    I've played that many times, and it had never occurred to me to wonder when the second-to-top voice came in. There had been no second-to-top voice until that moment. If I'd seen a half rest in that measure, I'd have wondered what it was about. :) For me, the vertical alignment in most editions of Chopin is what my eyes rely upon: how else to compare 11ths with anything else. :) Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 17:44
  • @ElementsinSpace A dotted half note tied to a regular half note tied to a regular eighth note is the way that Frédéric Chopin did it himself: i.sstatic.net/sNtVK.png
    – Vighnesh
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 15:33
  • @Vighnesh That does look neater for the top voice, doesn't it? But the rest at the start of the measure is still unnecessary clutter. PS I'm not sure that really is Chopin's handwriting. Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 18:37

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