Are both versions correct and if so, which one would you prefer to read for the piano?

The first version is with a second voice to avoid unnecessary ties, the second version is only with one voice. I prefer the first version, but is it common to use a second voice for the piano or should you always go with the second version?

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  • Isn't this asking for opinions?! Of course! But more importantly, it's the reasons behind those opinions which explain them clearly that count! – Tim Dec 3 '18 at 5:55
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    Richard’s answer is of course correct, but to answer the smaller subquestion you ask: yes, it is very common to have multiple voices in piano parts. Just look at just about any non-trivial piece written for the piano from any time period. – 11684 Dec 3 '18 at 11:47

I'd say that the first one is definitely better. In fact, I'm not sure I can think of an instance where I would prefer the second notation (even if it's not really wrong). The first is less cluttered, and it seems to me there's less room for confusion (however momentary) when one is reading it.

Another option would be to have a hybrid: use the first beat of the second notation (where the F/C are notated in the same voice) and then switch to the second beat of the first notation (where the two voices are notated separately).

  • I'd avoid changing the number of voices mid-bar unless the other options come out looking silly for some reason. It can be quite confusing when the number of notes in one voice doesn't seem to fill up the bar. – leftaroundabout Dec 3 '18 at 11:27
  • @leftaroundabout I agree it makes no sense here, but sometimes a new voice enters halfway the bar, in which case all confusion can be avoided by writing rests in that voice during the first half of the bar. – 11684 Dec 3 '18 at 11:43

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