I’ve been trying to find out what to do when a crotchet is above a minim for my school band. Please can anyone help me out? enter image description here

  • The important thing you left out: is this a piano or percussion (xylophone, glock, e.g.) part or is it a combo of several instruments' parts? Sep 3, 2019 at 14:07

2 Answers 2


There are two separate voices with different timings written on the same staff. One voice plays the notes with stems pointing up, and another plays the notes with stems pointing down. What the voices mean depends on the type of music and instrumentation. In a band, they may be completely separate instruments, but an organist or pianist can play many voices simultaneously.

voices on staves

The bass staff has a third voice.


Think of this bit of music as three instruments. One plays the notes in the lower stave. One plays the stem up notes in the upper stave, one the stems down notes.

Keyboard music will not always be laid out as clearly as this!

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