Understanding rests in the multi-voice environment

• Mar 9, 2019 - 03:05

As we add voices to our scores, little armies of rests start proliferating on the page.
I understand how to delete or hide superfluous rests. But I need a better understanding of how many rests are necessary in measures with multiple voices.
Attached please find my guitar arrangement of Erik Satie's "Gymnopédies 1". I am wondering if the voice 3, beat 2 quarter rests in measures 37 and 76 are necessary?
General commentary is welcome, too!

Thank you,

Attachment Size
GymnoGuitar4.mscz 29.34 KB


There is some amount of subjectivity her,e but the general rule is, if the rests help the reader understand the exact beat at which the next note occurs, you should not delete them. If the beat of the next note is 100% obvious from other context clues, then it might be OK to delete the rests. You should still keep them if there is a clear independent voice as this shows the continuity.

In your example, I would definitely keep the rests in 37 and 76, as otherwise, it isn't at all apparent what beat the quarter note comes in on. We can guess it is probably beat three, but musicians shouldn't be forced to guess.

I would advise that you make the rests invisible rather than delete them. Invisible rests are easy to make visible again if you want them but it's more difficult to add rests back in when you have deleted them.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.