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I am a adult re-beginner having had a few lessons with my kids some years back. I am using a piano tutor backed up by videos to teach myself and can play some easy classical pieces. Some of my music scores are marked with sloping straight lines which seem to be suggesting jumping staves and playing occasional notes on the treble stave with the left hand or playing notes on the bass stave with the right hand. Would that be the correct interpretations of these marks? Also, has anyone found a site which summarizes standard score markings.

Thank you L.P. The lines I am talking about look like the first example; is there a name for the lines? It has been a great help to know that they are advisory only. The first such line I have to interpret occurs in an easy version of Minuet in G 8th bar and connects the C# on the bass stave to a B on the treble stave. As both preceding notes are finger position 2 I could play this note with either hand, but playing it with the left hand gives and easy octave drop to the B above middle C in the left hand and better positions for both hands for the next section of music. Thanks again G.M. –

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The first of these examples tells us that the melodic line moves from one stave to another. Which hand to use is at the player's discretion. 'R.H.' or 'M.D.' could be added in the lower stave as an instruction to use the R.H.

The second definitely instructs the player to take all three notes in the R.H.

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  • Thank you L.P. The lines I am talking about look like the first example; is there a name for the lines? It has been a great help to know that they are advisory only. The first such line I have to interpret occurs in an easy version of Minuet in G 8th bar and connects the C# on the bass stave to a B on the treble stave. As both preceding notes are finger position 2 I could play this note with either hand, but playing it with the left hand gives and easy octave drop to the B above middle C in the left hand and better positions for both hands for the next section of music. Thanks again G.M. – Gehame Mar 1 '18 at 10:36
  • All notation is advisory (though sometimes the advice it offers is the only practical way!) I'm trying to imagine what an 'easy version' of Minuet in G would look like. The original is about as easy as it gets! – Laurence Payne Mar 1 '18 at 10:53
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Are you describing dynamic markings sometimes called hairpins below the staves indicating ‘grow louder’ or ‘grow softer’?

I’ve never seen any markings which asks you to change hands. The upper Treble clef and the lower Bass cleft can easily be retasked in the middle of the piece by simply inserting a new cleft symbol right on the stave, ending up with two Treble staves to be play simultaneously with both hands.

Imagine your right hand plays real high up on the scale and the composer wants you to use your left hand to play above middle C notes. They simply re-task the bass clef temporarily with a Treble cleft. Usually a few bars later they re-inset a bass cleft to bring the lower stave back to what you normally see.

That’s just a convenient way to avoid extension lines.

  • You've never seen "m.d." or "m.s." markings, like the ones Laurence Payne mentions in his answer? They're to signify that you effectively change hands for that part (change to right hand for "m.d.", change to left hand for "m.s."). – Dekkadeci Feb 26 '18 at 20:36

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