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Basically, would I play the second dotted quarter (highlighted)? I am thinking yes, because the fingering of a 1 on the B is only possible if you release the D.

  • 1
    The answer to the first title question is "yes", but the notes would have to take up the entirety of the intervening time. In this case, the first highlighted note would have to (a) be a dotted half note and (b) be tied to another one in the middle bar, which would in turn be tied to the final note.
    – user28
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 3:33
  • 1
    @MatthewRead makes a good point. There are some examples in the Bach Suites, where a triple-stop holds two notes while the third modulcates. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


This is not a tie. The line over the melody containing the highlighted D (or B if this is in treble clef, although I think it's bass clef) notes is a slur, indicating that this is a phrase. It's a purely stylistic marking: it tells you how to phrase the music, and to some extent how to pedal this piece. However, the low notes (one ledger line below the staff) are tied.

  • This wouldn't be pedalled, as the difference in pitch of the melody notes would make the tune sound too slurred.
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 7:44

This is clearly not a tie since that would make the first note gratuitiously too short to catch up. Generally, ties must be between adjacent notes. There is one notable exception, "arpeggio ties", often in combination with piano pedaling. I thought they were named "Rachmaninov ties" but a web search does not appear to support that contention. Maybe they run under some different composer's name.

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