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I'm new to using Musescore and writing notation, so excuse any ignorance on my part.

For the sake of example, let's say we want to play a C-Major triad in the root position, but we want to express that C and E are held for two beats and the G is held for one. Initially, I would think to do something like this:

enter image description here

But I've come across notation where people would use different voices to express the same thing. Here the blue represents voice 1 and the green represents voice 2:

enter image description here

When I first saw this, I actually thought it looked a little cleaner. But when I looked up the definition of voices, it said:

A voice is a musical line or part which can have its own rhythm independently of other voices on the same staff.

Then I thought this might be some sort of notation abuse because in some of the sheets I was looking at, it was clear that there was one voice being expressed with two voices.

My question revolves around correct notation and readability. Is it technically correct or incorrect to express one voice using two? Is one more readable than another? Can one be more misleading than another? Does this even matter or should I just stop overthinking things and get back to playing music?

6

Is it technically correct or incorrect to express one voice using two?

  • No it does not really matter technically, either works.

Is one more readable than another?

  • They both are readable, and in my opinion, option 1 is better but probably even better would be a combination, which would be just like option 1, but has a quarter rest on beat two in voice 1.

Can one be more misleading than another?

  • They are both fine but my personal preference is choice 1.

Does this even matter or should I just stop overthinking things and get back to playing music?

  • As a percussionist who rarely gets music in a standardized/normal format, I think formatting always matters. It's good that you are trying to view the music from the perspective of the performer, not the composer. That being said, don't be too concerned, as long as it makes sense and is consistant, it's fine.
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5

Ankit got it right, I would only like to add another possibility.

For me (as a classical guitarist), putting it into two voices would be the way to go. I would also typeset the G with stem up and the C and E with stems down, like this:

enter image description here

(I like the second bar more. Also sorry for the huge image, sadly all images get stretched to the width of the post.)

By the way, by writing it in two voices, you aren't "cheating the system" somehow. You correctly said that notes with different rhythms should go to different voices. The G has a rhythm "quarter note, quarter rest", the C and E have a rhythm of "half note". Clearly the rhythms are different.

However, even your example with stems the same way is OK and can be encountered in "real music", e. g. in this bit of Torroba's Sonatina (a famous work for the guitar):

enter image description here

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