enter image description hereThere are parts in this tune where I think it looks nice to use two voicing (to avoid excessive ties) and other parts where it looks good to keep it simple. Question: does it look bad to alternate between one voicing, two voicing? As in the image. (ignore the fact that the low Bb should be 6th string)

enter image description here


Personally I would prefer two voices over one voice with some notes of the chord tied and others not tied, but that isn't an "unbreakable rule".

The biggest problem with your notation is the stem directions IMO.

If there is a single voice, as in the second half of each bar, the stem directions should follow the normal rule (stem up for notes below the middle line of the staff, down for notes above the middle line, and I'm not going to write a textbook on what to do when notes on either side of the middle line are grouped together, etc, etc...)

If there are two voices, the higher notes should be stem up and the lower notes stem down, unless the music is in two real parts which cross over one another (which is not the case in your example).

So, I would suggest

  1. Change to two voices for the first half of bar one.
  2. Stems down for the second half of bar one.
  3. Flip all the stems in the first half of bar two.

Note that when you use more than one voice (or layer), in many notation software programs the automatic stem directions vary in quality from poor to terrible. Don't assume that what the software does by default is "good" or "correct"!

Also, if this is in 4/4 or cut time, it's OK to write the rhythm of half a bar as an 8th + quarter + 8th, rather than writing two tied 8th notes as in your example. But you should never write a quarter note that starts in the first half of the bar and ends in the second half. That would get rid of three sets of tied notes in your example - including the tie between the two A#'s which is too short and therefore hard to read - something else that needs to be fixed manually in many notation programs!

  • You might also consider whether you write this using flats instead of sharps. You mention Bb in the OP but the score has A#. Writing the second bar in flats would get rid of the F# followed by F natural (an octave higher), which might be mis-read as two F#'s without a cautionary natural. Gb followed by F can't be misread the same way. There is also the possible confusion of C natural against C sharp in bar one, compared with C and D flat. These are little things, but they can be big time wasters in rehearsals if the players start questioning every notation that might be wrong!
    – user19146
    Jun 2 '18 at 9:59
  • Hey thanks for the input! I've added an updated image. Is this better, in your opinion? Guitar Pro is just not friendly, as you alluded. But I did learn you can switch the stem direction, which is nice. I'm not really sure why there's an eight rest on beat 1 in the first measure... but I can't figure how to delete it. Guitar pro just isn't very intuitive. It looks like three voices so ignore that. Anyway, hopefully I'm on the right track. Don't expect a long exchange here, but any input is greatly appreciated. Best, Jun 17 '18 at 16:38

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