I'm relatively new to the piano and learning Pure Imagination. Here a part from early into the piece:

enter image description here

In the 4th bar, there are 2 Ab's in a row and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do at this point - do I treat it as a quarter note + the dotted half or just hold the Ab the whole time? I feel this would be obvious to most people and I'm missing something here.

  • 4
    This question doesn't look like a precise duplicate of the linked question--this question asks how the overlapping/restruck A flat above Middle C is supposed to be played, while the linked question has no such collided notes.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 8:30
  • It's not a duplicate at all. Do I have to make a new question? Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 9:33
  • 1
    It looks like a strange transcription of maybe organ music? The block chords would be played separately, the up stems appear to be the melody line. The block chords probably should have been in the bass clef, but they have the pedal tones there. I think the dotted half note is the end of the up stem melody, and the half rest and two down stem quarter notes are picking up a new line. Not sure how you would play that. Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 18:26

3 Answers 3


Personally, I would play the Ab twice (once for the chord, once for the dotted minim/half note) but then hold it down after playing it for the second time. The second Ab has its stem upwards which signifies that it's a different voice - and from what I can see, it's part of the melody of the piece, so it's a pretty important note.

Different voices need to each have their notes' lengths add up to one bar. So, this is okay.

This is okay

Because each voice adds up to 4 crotchets/quarter notes in that bar (you can tell which voice is which by looking at the different directions of the stems).

However, this isn't:

This isn't

You'd need to add a rest before that note to make it okay:

Add a rest

This applies to situations where the notes cross over:

Notes crossing over

It's not obvious what to do, but in the context given, playing the Ab twice is probably the best thing to do.


The notation shows musical intent: if you had an instrument that could play two A's at the same pitch, you'd hold the first A, and then add the second one. But a piano can't do it, so you have to interrupt the first A and begin the second one, while representing the intent that the first A is "held". Since you use the pedal, you have the leeway to release the A early. Otherwise, you'd probably be aiming to make the interruption as short as possible while still getting the full attack for the second A.

You could also invert the chord a bit, and separate it between hands differently: change the first A4 to A3, and play it in the left hand.

X: 1
M: 4/4
L: 1/4
%%score (T1 T2 T3 T4) (B1 B2)
V: T1 clef=treble
V: T2 clef=treble
V: T3 clef=treble
V: T4 clef=treble
V: B1 clef=bass
V: B2 clef=bass
[V:T1] E4|
[V:T2] F4|
[V:T3] cA3|
[V:T4] x2B,D
[V:B1] D,4|
[V:B2] A,4|

This is one of those piano/vocal/guitar arrangements. They're written to be as flexible as possible. The piano part includes the melody in case you want to play it as a piano solo (which it sounds like you do), but also leaves the melody separate so that you can easily omit it if you were accompanying a singer. Then there are chords for a guitarist to strum along too.

That's what's going on. There's actually three layers for some reason:

  • The whole notes
  • The notes with stems up: C and Ab
  • The notes with stems down: Bb and Db

In my opinion the latter two should be combined into one layer, so you'd have the whole notes plus a layer of 4 quarter notes. I can't figure out why it's split like that.

But at any rate, the idea is that there's an accompaniment and a melody separately, and they happen to overlap. They give you all the info you could need, and it's your task to figure out what you want to actually play.

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