I am looking at the tab for heart of gold on Songsterr and I've come across this bit

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what does the legato notation means? Should I put two notes there or just one?

2 Answers 2


Very straight-forward: the first eighth is tied to the second eighth to create one quarter note. So you just play the first beat and "let it ring".

What you see here is not a legato bow, but a tie. The tab is written as one voice, so in order to write two eighth hi-hat hits, you need to write the bassdrum in 2 eighth notes too. To get around this issue, the second eighth note is then tied to the first to make it practically a quarter note.

  • 2
    Yeah, but I doubt this is actually supposed to mean “let it ring” at all. Most likely it's just an artifact of a careless visual representation of some MIDI data which had the kick and snare as quavers for no particular reason. Though technically speaking, it is possible to influence the “sustain” of a bass drum while playing, but this is more of a articulation thing that Jazz drummers use to make their groove more lively. It makes little sense to actually distinguish between quaver and semiquaver kickdrum notes. Feb 11, 2018 at 20:50
  • Thanks, I learned this distinction between one or more voices and now it's clear! Indeed, these tabs are not the best, but sometimes it's all I can find
    – Three Diag
    Feb 12, 2018 at 7:34

The way you should play a bass drum is you kick down on the pedal and instantly release it. When you play a legato note on the bass drum, you keep the pedal on the skin (in your case for a quarter or an eighth note). You would play notes.

You would make sure you don't get legato direction confused with a tie. But, listening to the song many times, I have figured that it is, indeed, a legato instruction.

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