How can I achieve to have tied notes from the previous measure and cross-staff situation, when the notes which are in the Bass clef, technically in the Treble clef? No program (I tried Sibelius and Musescore) allows me to do this.

I also tried to write that right-hand passage in Bass clef and then cross-staff it up, different voices, but all that just messes it up and complicates the use of articulations and destroys the whole picture.

Any help would be appreciated.

This is how it should look in my view.


Update: enter image description here

4 Answers 4


You said, "since this is one monophonic passage for one hand, I wouldn't want it to be split." But splitting the beams has nothing to do with which hands s/he uses. And anyway, however you write it the pianist will use both hands. Why not? His/her left hand has nothing else to do!

You said, "I assume it would be clearer if three notes from the Bass clef and the rest nine notes from Treble clef would be connected by one solid beam" No it wouldn't! Rather the opposite.

So your main problem is that the tied fifth gets in the way of the arpeggio restarting in bar 2, yes? There are three solutions: Use the pedal to sustain the fifth (as I've done at the end of bar 1 below) or mark it with a tenuto (as I've done at the end of bar 2 below), AND/OR use the L.V. (lascia vibrare) symbol. If the tempo is Presto the precise length is not a very telling musical thought and isn't worth bothering too much about, but I'd probably go with a tenuto and a L.V.

enter image description here

Note that I've made further corrections to the grammar. Grouped this way the beats are much easier to count.

[I just noticed I got some pitches wrong earlier. Sorry.]

  • Man, you just demystified things that I couldn’t solve for months. Thank you! Yes, the restart of arpeggio is the main problem, and I did not even think that a pedal or tenuto usage could solve such a case. Just a question: if a dotted minim takes the beat, can I group the notes in such a way? I thought they should be grouped somewhat like in my example. (I used default settings for 6/4).
    – prstch
    Apr 27, 2020 at 20:56
  • 1
    You're welcome! When working from a Midi version to a score we can find ourselves copying note-lengths too precisely. The staccato mark on those fifth chords is much kinder to the pianist than your jagged sixteenth note and sixteenth note rest. More human somehow. You asked, "If a dotted minim takes the beat..." Your music-vocabulary is atrocious! :-) You mean "If the beats of a 6/4 bar are grouped into two dotted minims...can I group the notes in such way?" Yes, you can, as long as they don't continue across the two halves of the bar: they must preserve the dotted minim beat. But . . . Apr 28, 2020 at 1:47
  • 1
    . . . notice the way mine are beamed in groups of four: the main beam continuin but the sub-beam breaking. That makes it much easier to read, justlike wordsthat aren't alljoined together! Someone reading the music should be able to see at a glance not only where the main beats (the dotted minim ones) are, but also where the lesser beats - the crotchets - are. Apr 28, 2020 at 1:55
  • I added the screenshot to the post. In that example, should I use 32ths notes (sounds right with them) or better grace notes instead? And why, if possible, don't use a dotted note instead of the slur and another note? In your example, it makes sense. But overall, the notation with dotted notes would look clearer, wouldn't it?
    – prstch
    Apr 28, 2020 at 21:10
  • But you've still got the mistakes we corrected! You can't use the dotted note there because it breaks the rules of music grammar. The division of the bar into six beats needs to be visible. No-one can read it if they can't see the beats. That dotted note hides the whereabouts of the beat. That's also why I beamed the notes in groups of four: to show where the beat is. If you're want to write music down you really need to study some theory! And that isn't a slur, by the way. It's a tie. The tempo is too fast for 32nd notes or grace notes. It's only playable by Midi. Apr 29, 2020 at 4:02

Is this OK?


I did a couple of things to make it less cluttered: using staccato quavers instead of semiquavers with semiquaver rests, and making the chord at the start of bar 2 a fraction longer. You can easily change this back of course.

I broke up the beaming a bit too. It might be clearer if you also gave the left hand's beats 4 and 5 their own separate beams. I would, but it's up to you.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say you did it manually. I used Sibelius. Didn't need voices, btw.

  • Thank you for your answer, but I’m afraid this is not what I intended to do. I wanted that the right-hand passage was beamed across the staves, continuously, with one beam, without “third-party” articulation. If I don’t find a solution I’ll do something what you suggested.
    – prstch
    Apr 27, 2020 at 7:36
  • 1
    Why do you want that? If my solution sounds right, why would you want the beams to do something different? Please use a red pencil or something and mark which notes you want played by which hand. Or write out the music by hand as you want it to look. Because your musical grammar needed correcting I've got a feeling that what you want would also be incorrect. And please tell me what "I made this manually" means. Apr 27, 2020 at 8:44
  • Well, since this is one monophonic passage for one hand, I wouldn't want it to be split. Like here, youtu.be/kS8hk0kL2sE?t=25. If this is impossible to achieve, then I would think of another variant, but since I can write it on paper, I'd like to transfer it to the program. These two measures are an excerpt from my prelude. The first part of it is similar to what I showed to you. When I said "manually," I meant that I didn't write it as I wanted it: I used two voices for the sake of example. The option that I see here is a constant alternation of 2 voices, but I want to escape it.
    – prstch
    Apr 27, 2020 at 12:51
  • Well if you can do it on paper please do, and scan it and post it so maybe I'll see what you mean. Do you mean you want the first three notes of each bar to be played by the right hand? Apr 27, 2020 at 13:09
  • The screenshot that I attached is exactly representing what I'd write on the paper. When I started doing it in Sibelius, I faced this cross-staff problem. I didn't find a good example of my particular case, so I asked here, hoping that maybe somebody been through similar. Grammar is a different thing. People even say that I should beam 16th notes in groups by 4 in 6/4, and such things. I have many compositions, but I never wrote them down on paper, only in midi. Ultimately, I want that notation would be as clear as possible.
    – prstch
    Apr 27, 2020 at 16:10

Your "how it should look" looks pretty good to me as is. But I think that your issue is trying to beam through the 16th rest at the end of bar 1. Don't do that. It's at the very least confusing; beaming two notes together is one thing and rests are another, so the group you have there creates a reading conflict that has to be sorted.

So, I would say just make your last note (FC) with an upward stem and a flag, exactly as it is at the beginning of bar 2. Then you can tie them.

Ditto for the last 16th note in each bar with the tiny stem. Don't beam it with the previous note. Do it the way Old Brixtonian has it in his answer.

Finally, there isn't any such thing as notes in the bass clef that are "technically in the treble clef." That's like saying that something purple could "technically" be yellow. Seriously, though I think what you are getting at is notes above middle C that are written in the bass clef. That is done all the time; it's whatever works best.

For some ideas from a master composer, have a look at all the tricks that Liszt pulls in his Un Sospiro to make his intentions clear. Look also at how the performer breaks up the melody and arpeggios between the hands. You will probably find it instructive to study this piece in some detail:

In the first measures before the melody comes in, it's typical to take the notes in the bass clef in the left hand and the treble notes in the right. Once the melody comes in (written in a second treble clef for clarity, the usual fingering is to alternate the left and right hands (see if you can work out why), as you see the performer doing here. That is the basic way to finger most of the piece, even as Liszt begins to add extra notes in the melody as he is so fond of doing.


Interesting, this is actually kind of a tricky challenge! My first thought is to use voices: Have the first run in the top staff, voice 1, tied into measure 2. Have the second run in the top staff, voice 2. You'll then get a bunch of extra rests in measure 2 from voice 1, which you'll need to hide.

  • I'm thinking about it too.
    – prstch
    Apr 27, 2020 at 13:04

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