I'm reading a book by David Braid — Play Classical Guitar.

Everything is going smoothly until I get to the part on rests, here's the part that confuses me:

Two exercises (26 & 27) of staff notation for classical guitar with some instructions on the new concepts.  Two different voices are used, one for the bass strings, and another for the higher strings.  When only one voice is playing, rests are show in the other voice. "Let ring" ties are also shown on minims and semibreves.

Let me first explain what I understand:


  • When we bind a semibreve rest to a note, that note becomes separate in time for 4 beats (regarding to other notes coming, this notes keeps ringing in the background).

  • If a crotchet note is binded to a minim rest, it will be separate in time for 2 beats (this note keeps ringing in the background for 2 beats (minim rest)).

  • The small curved line means the note keeps ringing — don't rest you thumb for infinite time — just don't rest.

(Please correct me if I am wrong)


  • In the first bar I can't understand the meaning of having a semibreve note binded with a crotchet rest and attached to the small curve, could you please explain this to me?


  1. What does "separate in time" really mean?

  2. Is the term "keeps ringing" identical to "separate in time"?

  • 1
    Don't know the book, but it probably isn't the best. The way it explains could be better - and I expect English is not your first language. The last minim ought to be written the other way (upside down) too, and there's absolutely no need for the smiley bits to tell the notes last long. The notes themselves do that!. See if there are other tutor books out there; sorry to be so negative!
    – Tim
    Jun 17, 2016 at 7:13

1 Answer 1


I can barely understand what you're talking about, honestly. Whatever it is, I think you need to forget the word "bind".

In both exercises, there are two separate lines. In the first, there's a top line that goes:

    (rest)  | E E E    | (rest)  | (rest) E

and a bottom line that goes:

    A A A   | (rest)   | A   E E | A

The second example follows similarly. In the first, the two separate voices seem pretty unnecessary, but the writer is just trying to create a simple example to prepare you for the next one.

The curved line after the notes is a tie connecting to nowhere, which is the common notation to "let ring", meaning don't dampen the note and just let it continue to sound until it dies away on its own.

  • Well, the explanation given by the book is rather nonsensical too. What does it mean "to keep the parts separate in time"? Anyway your explanation is quite good, I would just stress that the two lines should sound as independent as possible, as if played by two different players (and that, it seems to me, is the main purpose of the exercise). Jun 17, 2016 at 0:36
  • Short and simple thank you! (thanks to @joseem too for the comment) One more simple question: Is the position of the rest is soo important ? Since it's a silent note, can I just move it up and down randomly (Eg: from A to D ) without the affecting the whole piece? Jun 17, 2016 at 1:42
  • 2
    Not playing an A sounds the same as not playing a D. ;^) I think that convention is to hang or place the rest symbol on the centre line of the stave but since there are two parts superimposed on the one stave the lower part rest is signified on the first ledger line.
    – Transistor
    Jun 18, 2016 at 7:24

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