Music theory question?

• Mar 8, 2021 - 20:39

Hi. I'm working on Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", 3rd Measure, to try to learn more about MuseScore and I'm almost through, even though there have been a few challenges along the journey. Now I've come across yet a challenge.

The attached image shows the "issue" in measure no. 189. There's a whole bunch of notes which are a lot smaller than the "normal" notes - and I cannot figure out the duration of them. I presume there's no change in the time signature (C) and that the last three notes are to be regular quarter notes. That leaves one quarter note worth of "space" or duration for the first 26(!) notes. When I watch the piece on YouTube, the tempo seems to slow down and the number of notes in this measure are played calmly and slowly, compared to the rest, which is played "Presto". I don't know if the small number 8 above the G-clef after the trill-symbol in measure 188 means anything - and if that's the case, what it means?

I've also tried to search the great internet for answers, but had no luck there.

Best regards

Stig M.

Attachment Size
08-03-2021 21-28-25.jpg 128.21 KB


These notes indicate what might be called a "cadenza", although that term often implies something a bit more involved. But basically, it's not uncommon to have passages the go out of time and you just have a bunch of notes to play at whatever pace you want. Sometimes that might be faster than it appears to be notated, sometimes slower, depends on the music and the player.

I don't know where this image came from but it doesn't seem to have been notated well. That gap after the clef makes no sense, nor would I recommend giving the treble-8 clef to a pianist. Also that weird half-barline in the cadenza looks like a typo. So anyhow, I wouldn't use this particular edition as a model of good notation.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi and thank you for the explanation. I can totally agree that the notation in this version that was downloaded from somewhere on the internet (cannot remember exactly where...) isn't the very best. The good thing about it though, is that it has made me learn quite a lot - and how NOT to do things.
Not that I've learned about the cadenza-thing, the remaining question is how to do that in MuseScore?

Best regards

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