From the sheet, the notes circled in red appears to be separate (1 chord + 1 note), and I have always played them separately.

However, after listening to a few recordings, apparently they are to be played together:

I don't understand why they are being played together. Is my interpretation of the sheet wrong?


2 Answers 2


The clue you're looking for is in the note values! The semibreves are full bar length. The quavers count up to eight - the correct number to fit the whole bar. So the chord and the first quaver must be played together otherwise the bar would be too long.


Yes, you've misunderstood the notation. The notes are offset from each other in order to preserve the visual integrity of the different voices and to keep beams between groups of notes from being broken.

  • Thank you. I would like to know if there are any clues that I can tell from the sheet that they should be played together? Especially for notes that are on two distinct stems, it is hard to deduce.
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 30 at 6:46
  • @Andrew Proximity is the main clue, plus counting the beats in conjunction with the slurs (which connect notes within a particular voice) and beams. However, it ultimately comes down to experience and having seen similar notation in other pieces.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 30 at 18:43

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