I'm a novice piano player and still have occasional difficulty reading some pieces of sheet music and translating that into practice. Below are two measures of a piece I'm currently trying to learn:


Full Sheet Music: http://puu.sh/pb5Cf/5bcc66b7e9.pdf

My intuition tells me that this should be played with the D held down for the measure, followed by playing the dotted A quarter note and A quarter note as usual. A lot of my confusion with this comes from a performance I see following this sheet music (

) which looks like the person is alternating between D and A for the measure, and then in the next one A and E.


1 Answer 1


As @Jacques said, the link for the full sheet music is not working, so we can't tell for certain what is intended in context, but here's my educated guess:

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The person that wrote your sheet music should have separated the pitches into two different voices to show that the lower note holds through for the full measure while the upper voice adds some rhythmic (and harmonic) interest above it. This is why the stems are facing upwards in the upper voice.

With that said, they typeset the music with two dotted quarters followed by a quarter (as shown in the first measure of my example). This isn't wrong, but it's more correct (and easier for the reader) to show it as I've done it in the second measure. This way we see clearly where beats 2 and 3 are, instead of them being hidden somewhere in the dotted quarter rest/note.

Edit: Here's a link to some sheet music for this piece, but it's not the same arrangement.

  • Awesome, that makes a lot more sense (I was really confused for a while lol). I updated the link to the sheet music that I'm using. The link that you gave also looks pretty good - do you think that it's better I use the one you provided over the one I'm using?
    – finaris
    May 31, 2016 at 4:02
  • Exactly! Sadly, more and more music is being written in this way, but it's much easier for most players to read 4/4 when there are two distinct halves to each bar. The tied notes give immediate clue. Also there's no need to tie any notes in the lower voice.
    – Tim
    May 31, 2016 at 6:31
  • Maybe music isn't being WRITTEN that way so much as automatically converted from MIDI tracks by utility-level software.
    – Laurence
    Jun 15, 2017 at 22:29

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