I'm having a hard time on cleaning up following passages:

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I've been messing around with grace notes, breath marks, but I don't seem to find the right combination to capture the spirit of the syncopated notes, yet make them more readable.

The intent is to have a grace note preceding a hard-stopped dyad, right in the middle of the quavers. I.e. it's about the rhythm not the exact timing.

Anybody got an idea how to turn this into something better?

  • Why not notate it fully? Grace notes are sort of open to interpretation.
    – ghellquist
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 11:40
  • @ghellquist - The rests would get even uglier if the grace note were notated as a completely full-fledged note instead.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


If you want an un-measured 'fast' gracenote, use an acciaccatura (the one with a slash) rather than an appoggiatura.

Apart from that, your notation appears clear. I don't understand your statement 'it's about the rhythm not the exact timing'. Rhythm IS timing. You've put the note at a precise rhythmic position. If that's where you want it to go, good. If you want it somewhere else, put it somewhere else.


Solution #1

The issue for me is a visual one, and it comes down to the spacing: beat 2 is wider than the other beats, which among other things causes the final sixteenth rest to be too close to the following half rest.

In the below example, I used MuseScore to recreate the problem measure — which resulted in much the same problem — and then shifted to the left the fourth eighth note and the following sixteenth rest.

Example of spacing adjustments

Solution #2

I find the combination of eighth notes and sixteenth rests visually confusing, though technically correct. Since the chord is "hard stopped" (which I take to mean "staccato"), change it to a sixteenth note. This won't change the rhythm or resulting sound, but it will allow an eighth rest to be aligned with the final eighth note.

I think it would also help to break up the beaming of the first four eighth notes into two groups of two.

Reformatted OP measure

  • Ah interesting, why would you break up the beaming of the first four 8th notes? I mean how does it make it more readable?
    – Creynders
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 17:50
  • @Creynders This is personal on my part. I just feel that by making each beat explicit, it helps clarify the syncopation. However, even looking at my example, I think the real issue is the spacing of the eighth notes. I think it might be just as good to keep the beaming the way it was and adjust the spacing. If and when I get a chance, I'll try that and update the answer if I like the result.
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 17:53
  • @Creynders Just checking in to see what you think of the "adjusted spacing" solution (solution #1).
    – Aaron
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 17:20

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