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I don’t know how to play this. How should I?

  • This notation suggests two different voices: one voice holds the D the entire measure, and another voice plays the eighth notes. Keep the D down the entire time as you play the E–F figure underneath it.
    – Richard
    Oct 3, 2018 at 21:06
  • @richard - I think he's talking about the treble clef Ds, tho' the 'up tail vs. down tail" rule applies in both hands here. Oct 4, 2018 at 13:45
  • @Richard - the way it is written, like so many other examples similar, is quite nonsensical. Technically, it would be more accurate with a quaver rest in the 'alto' part. Often wondered why it's not done thus.
    – Tim
    Oct 4, 2018 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


There is really only one D there! It's written out with two 'voices', one with tails up, other with tails down.

On the face of it, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but that dotted minim needs to last for the whole bar - 3 beats, while the quavers keep playing on the other 5 places. It could have been written out with the first quaver D as a rest, and it would sound the same.

The idea is like satb, where there are 4 separate voices being put together, and when you count each part, it is clear there are 3 beats for each. It's a common, well accepted way of writing parts on piano.

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