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Can someone please let me know what the jagged line connecting the top note to the bottom note is?1


1 p. 14


Debussy, Claude. Suite bergamasque. Ed. Fromont, E. Paris, 1905.

  • 1
    Looks like a 8h note ledger spanning two staffs Dec 19, 2019 at 8:56
  • 1
    The "jaggedness" is an artifact of either reproduction or poor typesetting. Dec 19, 2019 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


That line is a "beam."

beam example

It just looks weird because it's connected over two different staves. They can look this way within one single staff as well (top left):

bean example2

  • 1
    ...And it's written over two staves to show it's meant to be played using two separate hands...
    – Tim
    Dec 19, 2019 at 9:17
  • Yes, thanks... I suppose that is noteworthy. I simply answered the 'what' without considering the 'why' ':-D Dec 19, 2019 at 9:23
  • It also works to reinforce the 'togetherness' of the slur in the first bar, in contrast to the LH (merely) being an accompaniment to a phrase starting on the high A-flat in the RH. So the shape of the phrase is up and slooowly down.
    – Rhys
    Dec 19, 2019 at 14:18
  • 2
    It's not a flag - it's a beam. Beams take the place of flags when notating multiple flagged notes as a group. Dec 19, 2019 at 15:42
  • 1
    It's a beam not a flag. Dec 19, 2019 at 17:10

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