I've been transcribing music in Guitar Pro, and found that working with two 'voices' (bass/treble) on the staff is rather difficult. It's time consuming to say the least.

My question is: when is having both voices necessary, as opposed to just using ties? Obviously at some point, you have to draw the line; for example, tying 8 eighth notes together can get annoying.

I have attached two examples from a tune I'm working on. Would you say that this particular notation is ridiculous or permissible? Does having the tab below justify the standard notation, or is it just plain ridiculous/sloppy to the seasoned reader? I understand that there may not be an objective rule for this-or maybe there is- but hopefully I can get some opinions or perhaps advice from more seasoned readers out there. Thank you

Example 1:

Example 1: Ebm7 bar

Examples 2:

Ex 2: Bdim7 Bar

Of the following, which would you prefer:


enter image description here

1 Answer 1


I would much prefer to play from a score which had the absolute minimum of ties, such as in either of the first two examples you give.

I would find it much easier to follow the musical intent of a score written more like this:

enter image description here

This could have been written with lots of ties, but I think this version is clearer.

Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of Guitar Pro, so I am unsure exactly how this could be achieved.

EDIT: Example 3 (the part with more rests and less ties) would be greatly to be preferred in my experience.

  • Appreciate the response. Dec 23, 2016 at 21:37
  • Old John, I added another example to my org. question. In this one, the ties seem, in my eyes, to be easier to read. Do you still prefer less ties still, compared to more complex rests? Thanks for any insight.... Dec 23, 2016 at 21:41
  • 2
    I have added a bit to my answer. Give me rests rather than ties, any day. I suspect I am not alone, at least amongst classical guitarists, but I may be wrong ...
    – Old John
    Dec 23, 2016 at 21:45
  • 4
    The fewer black marks on the page, the better. On guitar, how long you can sustain a note is often a matter of technique (i.e. how long can you use a finger to fret a string before moving it) and how long the note will sustain anyway, so lots of ties often give a spurious sense of "accuracy" to the notation. IMO the ideal situation is that every written note indicates the start of a note that is actually played, but the accurately notating the end of notes is not so critical. Tab doesn't have any explicit notation at all for when notes end, but tab works fine as a practical notation.
    – user19146
    Dec 23, 2016 at 23:17
  • Absolutely agree, and the older I get, the more I like fewer black marks on the score ...
    – Old John
    Dec 23, 2016 at 23:21

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