Cross Staff Notes

• Apr 4, 2013 - 19:29

I tried utilising cross-staff, but it didn't seem to do anything. Is what's in the image achievable?

I saw this , but I don't know if it's the same.

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Cross Staff Notes.mscz 1.68 KB
Cross Staff Notes.png 419.5 KB


What you want is not cross-staff but writing in one clef in separate voices (stem up for right hand, stem down for left hand). I see this notation in choral accompaniment a lot. Write the up-stem in one voice, the down-stem in the other, use a line to link the top stave to bottom stave and make the remaining rests in the treble invisible.

In reply to by schepers

They do both work, so in that sense, it doesn't matter which way you do it. However, there is no doubt the cross staff method is more "musically correct", and also easier in most cases.

I say "musically correct", because presumably this really is a single musical voice that happens to cross staves. If this were being arranged for (or reduced from) an ensemble of wind or string instruments playing one note at a time each, a single instrument would play the line that migrates from staff to staff. Conceptually, it really is a single line.

As for easier, if there is only one switching point, and you know in advance exactly where it is and there is no chance of you ever changing your mind, then indeed, it will be about the same amount of effort either way. But more likely, the line will migrate back and forth a few times, and as you make refinements to the piece over the course editing, you might well change your mind about which staff to put any given note from the line in. That's where having done it as a single line with cross staff notation will pay off big time - a single click to move a note back to the other staff rather than a whole process of deleting notes, adding notes along with enough leading rests, and then hiding those new rests.

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