Unison Notes in Different Voices Beside One Another

• Jul 12, 2016 - 23:10

Forgive me if this has been covered, but I am trying to write a part with two voices. I reached a measure with a unison whole note in both parts. Instead of having one note, there are two side-by-side whole notes, which looks like there's 8 beats in the measure instead of 4. You can see it in the 2nd measure of the tenor sax part.

Am I missing something? Is there a setting I need to change? Corrupt score?

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That is standard notation for multi-voice parts. The performer is expected to understand that each voice is notated separately even though they both cohabit the same staff. Take a look at the attached harpsichord score as an example. You will note that the total of note durations in each measure in each staff is greater than the time signature allows.

Granted that with whole notes, which do not have a stem that goes either up or down (to indicate which voice it belongs to) there is a possibility of confusion, but most musicians will figure it out pretty easily.

In reply to by Recorder485

I understand how voices work, I've just never run across unison whole notes that didn't sit on top of each another. With half, quarter, eighth, etc. notes, they sit on top of one another with stems in opposite directions. Unless I'm mistaken, in previous versions of MuseScore, whole notes weren't split. It's easy to tell them apart in the software, because they have different colors, but when it's printed it's just two whole notes sitting beside each other.

In reply to by newsome

With stemmed notes, the stems already give the performer(s) all the visual cues they need that the both voices have the note. With unstemmed notes, the double note is correct notation to give the necessary visual feedback. That is why it is the default - it is the proper way to notate this in most cases (see any notation guide to confirm this). You shouldn't override that unless you have some specific special case reason.

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