How am I supposed to play the staccato in the following section? I also don't understand when composers write 8th on bottom and then a 16th on top. Why do composers do this?

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  • it is easier to see mentally and neater. It is common to just use quaver for something that isnt really a quaver or like a minim/semibreve for something that obviously cannot be held(i.e. rach 39/6), but tells you like that is meant to(at least mentally) sound through the bar(something similar in liszt un sospiro too but it isnt explicitly written) or you can half pedal there to make it actually sound. Over here a crispier sound with no pedal would be my preference
    – Ariana
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 13:42

3 Answers 3


You basically play the eighth note the same length as a sixteenth note because it is staccato. Chopin did this to make the section seem light. And light you should play it so you can play it fast.


As I understand it, this is the common approach when writing multiple voices in a single staff, for example with choral music you will have four voices (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass), and each voice follows its own independent rhythmic markings.

In this case, there is a melodic voice (played with fingers 2-5 of the right hand) and the accompanying chords, shared between the 1 finger the right hand (the 8th notes) and the left hand. Notice that they all share the same markings, as they are 8th notes + an 8th note rest, independent of the upper voice. This could work in theory independent of the staccato marking.

Check http://www.musicatyourfingertips.co.uk/grade5theory/satb.html

  • so are you saying (hirschme) that the left hand will play 3 notes together then.the left hand takes the bottom right hand note.
    – janoah
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 23:49
  • 2
    no, just as it is written in the score and in my answer, the right hand is playing the 8th note with finger 1. The 8th-note chord is shared between both hands
    – hirschme
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 23:56

The high A staccato eighth note (R.h.) must be played with the pinky finger and the following second sixteenth note with finger 4.

This means the staccato 8th notes have to be played as 16th notes. Hands and fingerings as notated.

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