If I have a tied note across a bar line, say 2 whole G notes, and I have an accidental, say a sharp, on the first G, my assumption is that the accidental applies as well to the second G because it is tied. If I wanted it to not apply, what would be the convention? Would it be simply to not have a tie note in the first place and have two separate notes, a sharped G and a G itself?

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    If the second note is not augmented, then you can't have a tie at all, since it doesn't connect equal pitches. (However, if you use a slur for phrasing or legato, which looks similar and can be confused with a tie, then you should definitely include a complementary cancellation sign.) Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 7:16

3 Answers 3


An accidental does apply across the bar line, but would need to be reapplied to any applicable notes after the second note under the tie. Ties don't apply to different notes. (You'd use a slur instead if you wanted the 1st note held until the 2nd note is attacked.)

If, say, you sharp a G and tie it across the bar line, then follow the second note under the tie with G♮, you may want to use a cautionary accidental to show that the sharp has come off. If the sharp wasn't part of the key signature, this isn't absolutely necessary, but it usually saves a bit of confusion.

The following example should make this clear.

enter image description here

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    Great answer! I would always use a cautionary accidental. If I saw that measure without it, I would almost surely play G# again.
    – Nick B.
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 3:52
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    Well, yeah, @NickB. The rule says that the accidental only applies in the bar in which it is added, but, in cases like this, it can look a lot like a proofreading error if the cautionary isn't there.
    – user16935
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 4:47
  • Could you expand on the the engraving difference between a tie and a slur? I saw in your example that they don't look the same, but I had never noticed. Very interesting!
    – Gauthier
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 8:06
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    Yeah, it can be hard to distinguish between ties and slurs on old sheet music. Even some new stuff. I'd probably default to assuming it's a tie if the note doesn't change -- it's on the arranger to make it explicit if not.
    – user28
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 21:03
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    @Speldosa, might be a good question. I can think of a few instruments where it would be possible to re-attack a note (i.e., distinct attack) without a break - that's makes for a good slur but an incorrect tie. From point of view of notating multi-voice music, though, slurs and ties are placed differently.
    – user16935
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 15:33

Tied notes are, by definition, the same note carried across a bar line. When the second note is different, even though it may be the same letter name, but altered with a #, b or natural, then that note will have to be played as a separate note in the new bar. Then, the 'tie' line becomes a slur. Yes, if it's the same note, there's no need to put the # in your case. There would certainly not be a tie - there couldn't be.

This answer is direct to your question, as you stated the second G (G natural)lasted the whole bar, Which takes a different slant from Patrx2's answer, which correctly states what happens to SUBSEQUENT notes of the same name in a second bar.

  • I don't understand the part "there would certainly not be a tie." It sounds like you are agreeing with Patrx2's answer, but if it's the same note and there's no need for the #, doesn't that make it in essence a tie of G#'s spanning the two measures?
    – Joey
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 7:40
  • If the 1st bar was G#, and the 2nd, G natural, there could be a slur, but not a tie. It's not possible to tie dissimilar notes. This is how I interpreted the question. If the two notes were the same, then yes, they could be tied, and would not need the 2nd accidental, as you said.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 7:49

Others have already stated that a tied note does not call for a repeat accidental but any following notes will. This is correct with one exception: if the tie is broken across lines, the tied note after the line break will require a repeat accidental which then counts for following notes as well.

This is one of the rare cases where line breaks affect details of notation inside of the lines.

  • FWIW, this rule doesn’t seem to be consistent across scores. Looking through my scores from various publishers/editors, I see many follow it (e.g. Urtext, Mandyczewski Brahms, IMC) but some don’t (e.g. Paderewski Chopin). Dorico, usually so scrupulous about these sorts of rules, does not follow this one. I wonder if it’s a regional thing, or just a matter of taste? Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 3:29

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