This is an excerpt from Unravel – Tokyo Ghoul, a solo piano piece.

I'm wondering about this following section highlighted in the green circle: enter image description here

Is this note played at the same time as the regular sized note next to it? I think I remember my piano teacher saying something about notes that are only one step apart are usually written side-by-side and not above each other?

  • 4
    Those look like cue notes which are often either an alternate part to play or are played by another instrument and replicated on the piano score (in this case) to help maintain awareness of and synchronization with the other part. My first thought is that maybe you wouldn't play those notes at all. Does that make sense in the context of this music? Is it an ensemble work or could that be an alternate melody, perhaps played during a repeat of this section? Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 21:01
  • related: music.stackexchange.com/questions/29934/…
    – Dom
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 21:03
  • @ToddWilcox youtube.com/watch?v=sEQf5lcnj_o at 2:35 is this section. The small notes are supposed to be played as second rhythm for one hand, if you will.
    – A T
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


These are cue notes.

Depending on the musical context, these cues are either played or just a hint towards what's happening elsewhere in the ensemble. Other times they function as a "play them if you can" suggestion.

Based on the rhythms shown in this example, this looks to be a sheet music arrangement of a rock song, and are probably more in line with the "play them if you can." But you don't have to!

In any event, that small B♭ is to be played at the same time as the larger C. My guess is that, due to the different sizes of note heads, they gave a little extra space between them.

  • 1
    Richard, how can we see the difference between a cue note and notes that are supposed to be played together like here? It looks awfully similar.
    – Mast
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 23:02
  • 4
    Context. Also, this example is not high-quality engraving. The Bb in question should be positioned closer to the C above. Looks like the program that created the score changes notehead size but doesn't change note spacing accordingly.
    – Laurence
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 23:18

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