I just purchased a copy of the Pokémon Theme and I came across this note which I'm not sure how long to play it.

Can someone please help me?

I'Ve attached an image of the one (or two) note/s below

Unknown Note


I've also uploaded an image of the full bar (or at least most of it) to avoid any confusion

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    Could you provide an image that includes more of the surrounding music, including text (if there is any)?
    – Richard
    Jul 19, 2016 at 8:46
  • 1
    You have to borrow another cellphone from a friend, so you can hold one phone in each hand and capture both notes simultaneously ;)
    – user19146
    Jul 19, 2016 at 11:42
  • 1
    Your edit has shown that Tim's answer is correct; look there! The different syllables in the text are shown with these different rhythms in the music.
    – Richard
    Jul 20, 2016 at 10:58

5 Answers 5


More than likely it shows note timing for another verse, where there are different words which need to be sung/played in a slightly different rhythm.There doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule as to whether the tail on the smaller note follows the main note's tail or goes in the opposite direction, but it makes sense that the value of each note will be different - otherwise the timing for each word in each verse would be the same.

EDIT: now we can see the bar proper, it seems to me that strictly speaking, there should also be a small quaver rest,at the beginning, to signify verse two starts on the second beat (as there is already a quaver rest, not shown, at the beginning of verse one). Call me pedantic - some versions will have that.

  • I think this would normally include a text instruction below like "(2nd time)", which might not be shown in this image. Correct?
    – Dedwards
    Jul 19, 2016 at 15:11
  • 3
    Probably not. Where there are two verses of lyrics, no further explanation is required, or normally provided. ALWAYS provide context with a question of this sort rather than zooming in on what you think is the material detail!
    – Laurence
    Jul 20, 2016 at 12:11
  • 1
    @LaurencePayne - I guess the comment is for Dedwards - if so, it will only be aimed at him, and read, if you start with '@'.
    – Tim
    Jul 20, 2016 at 12:57
  • @LaurencePayne, yes that's a little more apparent now that the zoomed out image has been added.
    – Dedwards
    Jul 20, 2016 at 17:36
  • Yes, there is a quaver rest at the start of the stop bar. I'Ve just posted an image of the bar in its entirety, so I'm hoping that there'all be no more confusion... Jul 21, 2016 at 7:07

Depending on context this may mean a number of different things:

  • it could be a used in a different verse as Tim suggest, but since you state "pokemon theme" I have some doubts, whether any text exists

  • it could be some sort of embellishment (grace note), where the big note indicates the dotted quarter as total duration and the small says, that it is supposed to played as separate eigth and quarter note. Typically a slur would he lead to the main note, however.

  • it could be a cue note, indicating that some other instrument starts at this time with an eigth (typically then the name of this instrument can be found nearby)

  • it could be a more ornamented alternative (if further smaller printed notes follow under the dotted quarter)

  • If it was a grace note, with a slur, it would look more like a tied note, apart from which, the grace note would differ from the following note. So don't think an ornament is it. A cue note? on a piano score, in a place like that, maybe not.The theme does in fact have words.
    – Tim
    Jul 19, 2016 at 15:54

I'm going to post my own answer on my question based on what a piano teacher said.

He said that since the song goes two times through that the note with the stem up (big crotchet note) gets played first and then after the first ending, play the one with the stem down (smal quaver note).

Please share your opinion on this...

  • Pretty well what I put. Big note, first time (1st verse), little note instead, 2nd time (2nd verse). I think the red herring was the missing information on the original question. This sort of writing is all over songs - it won't happen in purely instrumental pieces. So was I right all along?
    – Tim
    Jul 21, 2016 at 7:27
  • @Tim Hi Tim, Yeah, I'm probably going to mark off your answer as correct. Jul 22, 2016 at 8:23

I found one of these too. Basically, just playing it as if they were tied together. The composer probably wrote it like that because they wanted you to emphasize that particular note. Hope this helped!


It's a grace note. You play the first note quickly before the second without adding time to the length of the bar and then finish out the allotted time for the second note with the second note.

  • yes i think it's a grace note! baBAAAAAA
    – sova
    Jul 19, 2016 at 18:52
  • 2
    How can it be? It's the same note sound as the bigger one.
    – Tim
    Jul 20, 2016 at 6:32
  • Grace notes are about rhythm - not pitch. The first note comes a little bit before the second note. Think about the "Ta-Da!" rhythm. The first note is the "ta". Jul 21, 2016 at 14:38
  • Yes, they are. But usually pitched differently from the main note. However this isn't one of them!
    – Tim
    Jul 21, 2016 at 16:11

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