5th voice?

• Sep 30, 2019 - 22:03


This is my score, and in bar 8, I want to write 2 half-notes on one position. But I can't do that because I have used all the available voices. What can I do?

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Ballade No. 1.mscz 92.67 KB


Nevermind! Figured it out! I changed the quarter note head type to half. The stem is still bound to the beam, and the other voice made the other half.

Although it would still be nice to know how to add a 5th voice.

It's not really clear why you are wanting five voices here - I don't see what is going on here that couldn't be notated in fewer. Can you walk us through what you are trying to convey?

For what it's worth, I have never felt the need for more than 4, and even 4 taxes the channel capacity between a five-line staff and human ability to read it. Even three-voiced continuo realization right-hands rapidly become unreadable unless "chords" with multiple heads on a stem are used liberally. Up-stems and down-stems simply don't have enough "address space" to render more than 2 without ambiguity. Five fingers is the mammalian limit for keyboard music, and if all are occupied .... but otherwise (not keyboard), If something really requires four or more voices on a staff, more staves are usually called for.

In reply to by [DELETED] 1831606

The situation where I see the possibility of wanting this come up is in arpeggiate-and-hold chords, which, because we have five fingers, sometimes might seem to be something we'd want to use five voies to notate. But in practice that is almost never the best way to notate this idiom. Instead, things like extended ties are more common, easier to read, etc.

I realize this thread is pretty old...this issue comes up quite a bit in organ music. I would call it common, but not rare either. Frustrating that it can't seem to be handled.

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