In Carcassi's Arpeggio exercises (for guitar) there are passages like this:

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Do these half notes are connected with eighth notes? What does the half notes with flag means?

BTW, how to include these in abc notation?

  • What is abc notation? – ggcg Aug 15 '19 at 18:57
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    @ggcg a popular music notation format, also available in this site, you can have a look at ABCjs integration now available, abcnotation.com and abcjs.net – marcanuy Aug 15 '19 at 19:18
  • For future reference, please indicate the instrument in question. Some markings have different meanings for different instrument groups; many other markings are specific to one group or particular instrument. – Carl Witthoft Aug 16 '19 at 17:09

There are no half notes with flags here. Notationally, there are two voices. The lower voice is moving in half notes. The half notes have downward-pointed stems to indicate that they belong to the lower voice, but these are somewhat hard to notice because of the X marks. These half-note stems have no flags.

The upper voice is notated in eighth note implied triplets, with the first of each group of six notes in unison with the coinciding half note. The note head is therefore elided.


They are arpeggios, and the minims (2 beat notes/half notes) are a sort of accompaniment, being played and kept hold of, so they continue to sound, until the next one gets played.

It's common to actually hold down the whole chord (all the notes involved) and play them so they all continue to ring out. Normally, each would be stopped in time to play the next, which is technically how they're written, but the pieces sound better and more cohesive when it all blends together.

So - the first bar would hold an open C chord, while the second would be an open G7 chord.

Since there are dots (. .. ...) under the other notes, indicating index(.) middle (..) and ring (...) fingers of picking hand, I guess the (x) will indicate thumb - which is what most people would use for a bass note - on lower strings - anyway.

  • Isn't that implied by the duration of the note? What is the need for the flag, or x underneath? – ggcg Aug 15 '19 at 17:06
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    @ggcg in this context, the x underneath means that the above note should be played with thumb, a .: first finger, ..: second finger, etc. – marcanuy Aug 15 '19 at 17:31
  • I have never seen that fingering system before. Then again, I am a pianist, but even for stringed instruments I am used to seeing something like this: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 and for piano, this: 1 2 3 4 5 – Caters Aug 15 '19 at 18:06
  • @Caters, there are different fingering notations for each hand since they are involved in playing the exact same note. The left (or fretting hand) uses (1, 2, 3, 4) and the right (picking hand) (p, i, m, a) or (+, . , .. , ...) – ggcg Aug 15 '19 at 18:52
  • @marcanuy, thanks for the comment. I think you are correct. However I just looked at Carcassi Method book and thumb is notated (+) rather than (x). I would have expected consistency from one author. – ggcg Aug 15 '19 at 18:53

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