Is there a right way to tie a tie?

• Dec 5, 2020 - 01:04

Is either of these bars preferable in terms of showing the tie or does it make no difference?



In standard (not TAB) notation there are rules regarding the placement of ties and when they are necessary..
When it comes to TAB notation, it depends on how much information you wish to impart, what flavor of TAB you are using, and if you have "customized" any TAB staff properties.

Consider this:
Tie 1.png
It would likely be played thus:
Tie 2.png
The above image shows two voices and a quarter note tied from beat one to beat 2. A competent guitarist would sustain notes anyway (so as not to sound 'choppy') - without the 'pedantic' use of voices (in TAB).

This image:
Tie 3.png
is played the same as the one above, but here the quarter note is replaced by tied eighth notes - which is unnecessary.

Of the 2 ways you wrote the measure, this one:
Tie 4.png
is simpler to read, but (without clearly defined voices) it does look like you have an eighth note played for one full beat (and then tied to the first half of the next beat).
But hey, it's TAB so no big deal... ;-)

Stringed instruments like guitar are not sustaining instruments, (like an organ for instance, where voices are meticulously observed). Because of the diversity of TAB out there, it is often up to the guitarist's interpretation when performing (so open strings are allowed to vibrate, fingering positions are held until the last possible second).

A interesting example is 5 string (bluegrass) banjo TAB. Often the player is presented with measure after measure after measure of nothing but 16th notes. Somewhere within that "machine gun firing" of notes there exists a melody - an actual hummable tune - hidden within all the forward and reverse rolls, double thumbing, etc. The human ear can (miraculously) distinguish that melody amongst the cacophony and it is the performer's job to facilitate that understanding. Yet to look at the TAB (or even the standard notation), that melody is undetectable.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

I'm trying to stick to standard notation rules as far as possible. These are all voice 1 notes, (there is a voice 2 for the bass notes but not in this bar).

As you say, a guitarist would sustain this naturally, especially an open string, but MS will be pedantic. This score is basically finished and is now having its playback tweaked so that it doesn't sound choppy, (apart from the 1/16 notes which are supposed to!)

The "Let Ring" line is an option but ends up needing many adjustments since it applies itself to the end of the bar, even when a subsequent note on the same string shuld cut it short. It also doesn't apply through a barline where a guitarist would.

PRE is useful for this too but limits the Offtime to 2000, (as does a plugin equivalent); not an issue in this example but it is in other situations.

3 voices could be used but then things started getting complicated with rests and stems/beams.

So I end up using ties as I really don't want to use a 'mix and match' of methods. Your reminder that guitarists would play this as intended reminded me about hiding notes so I'll do this and use the longer tie as it's less work and looks clearer when display of hidden elements is switched on.

Thanks :-)

In reply to by yonah_ag

Both of your examples are technically correct. Though the second in needlessly complex. Herein lies the problem with notation software playback. I often have two scores. One I might hand real players, and one redone to get playback the way I want.
It depends on your goal. If you are writing for real players, I think you might want to give them some credit for knowing how to play their instrument. Each player will interpret your note in their own way. That's their job

In reply to by bobjp

These extra notes are redundant for a guitarist and are only for computer playback. I'll hide them or use PRE instead. I can see why you would have 2 scores but this is destined for upload and I would like it to sound as good as I can make it.

The first example doesn't make sense - is that written in one voice or two? It seems like it must be two, because the G that is tied would seem to be a quarter note, and yet it has no stem of its own.

The second seems more obviously just one voice - those G's are more clearly all eighths. And yet, it looks completely wrong.

So really, neither of these are correct notation. That first G lasts a beat and a half (assuming this is 3/4). So it should be written as a dotted quarter in voice 2, no ties at all, if you are trying to convey the exact rhythm you are showing. That requires two voices. And then the G and F on the third beat are pretty clearly eighth notes, also in voice 2. You really have two distinct voices here, one having fourth eighths following by four sixteenths, and the other going dotted quarter, eighth, two eighths. So two completely independent voices that could be notated clearly as such

But on top of that, I'd suggest there is no practical reason why you need to notate it that way at all. There is no practical different where you just play that initial G as an eighth or a dotted quarter. Either way, the string vibrates and decays at its own rate. So you could notate it all in one voice with no ties, making that first G an eighth note like the high G that accompanies it. But, MuseScore's playback will act as though there is a difference between an eighth note G and dotted quarter G, so that also could be a reason to show the independent voices.

If it were standardard notation, I would absolutely say you should use the multiple voice. Given it is tab, you could safely treat it as a single voice. But, no ties would be needed. If you insist on adding the tied note for the sake of playback, make them invisible to avoid cluttering and confusing the score.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

All these notes are in voice 1. There is a voice 2, (for the bass), but not present in these bars. Three voices would make it easier to write for both a human player and computer playback but is probably a bit over the top for a simple guitar score.

Yes, these extra notes are purely for improved playback and not for tbe guitarist so they should be hidden. Maybe a simpler solution is to use the PRE.

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