If a dotted half note precedes a quarter note of the same pitch, is the note held for the duration of the former or latter? Does the following quarter note supersede the dotted half in this case?

enter image description here


1 Answer 1


That dotted half note is tracked to a different voice; it basically is like another melodic line played at the same time as the other voice (the way you can tell is if the stems of the noteheads point away from the center of the staff). The dotted half is played for the entire measure, whereas the other notes are all played in sequence starting at the same time that the dotted half does.

In the future, for questions like these, it is invaluable to post the time signature of the piece (which I assume to be 3/4).

  • I miss however a quarter rest at the beginning of the bar for the middle voice, which continues with the two quarters of downward stem f (if a treble clef can be assumed).
    – guidot
    Dec 7, 2018 at 7:54
  • 1
    It's poorly written, in that it's supposed to be 3(?) voices. However, it's not easy to show 3 voices when stem options allow 2. The 'middle voice' needs a rest at the beginning of the bar. Unless - it's not 3/4 but 6/4, in which case, it's even more badly written!
    – Tim
    Dec 7, 2018 at 8:24
  • It seems to me the two down-stems of the third voice are unnecessary. They seem to be there just to allow the F to be shown as held but in guitar music this can be shown by just using the tie, with no need for a third voice. It's often a matter of taste how these things are notated. The message is clear which is all that matters.
    – PeterJ
    Dec 7, 2018 at 11:25
  • @PeterJ - had the message been clear, this question wouldn't have appeared!
    – Tim
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:50
  • 1
    I strongly disagree that the example poorly notated. This sort of figure has been standard in the Western tradition for centuries. Certainly there alternative renderings which that convey the same meaning, but once understood, like anything in traditional Western music notation, the meaning is clear. Dec 7, 2018 at 22:30

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.