Coincident Voices with Different Time Values

• Sep 5, 2021 - 23:08

I am trying to get the two voices to overlay, but I can't quite see how to do it.

MuseScore does it this way:


I am trying to get it this way:


I was able to do this on another notation pack that I use.



Click on the G# eighth note and press 'v' - this males it invisible and the dotted half-note no longer collides with it so snaps back into place.

In reply to by Herb Ray

FWIW, though, it's not really that basic - it's kind of non-standard notation.

Just curious, how did you find it in the other software you used? Or are you saying it actually produced that notation by default? That would be incorrect - those notes should not normally be merged. So then the question is, how would that other program allow you to correct that error, and how would you discover that?

The standard is to only merge noteheads if they match (both solid or both hollow, and either both or neither dotted). That's kind of necessary to preserve the independence of the lines in reading. But indeed, it does occasionally happen that a need arises to merge non-matching noteheads - perhaps once every 1000 or so measure when considering the totality of all notated music. Considerably more often if one only looks at solo classical guitar music, I suppose - in that world, it's common to show hollow notes as bass notes that are beamed along with solid notes as arpeggiated chords.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc --

The other package that I use is MusEdit (version 4.0.3).

I did not have to look for it in MusEdit. MusEdit does this automatically. With MusEdit, I would have to monkey with it to show the two voices separately. Just like in MuseScore --- I have to monkey with it to show the voices together.

Yes, you're right, this is classical guitar stuff. Having the two voices coincident as I would like is actually quite standard in classical guitar notation, and makes for easier reading.

Consider these two:


Isn't the first one a lot easier to read than the second one? I think so, and it's not at all ambiguous.

-- Herb

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

Dylan --

In my preferred notation (with the note heads coincident), no classical guitarist would interpret that to mean that the C should be played simultaneously on two different strings. Were that the intention, you would have to make that perfectly clear with some fingerings.

-- Herb

In reply to by Herb Ray



I can confirm that this is a very common (overwhelmingly so) notation in guitar. For the record, GP also displays it by default.


But it's really great thing that MuseScore can display both ways. Once understood, it's easy to merge the noteheads (as on the GIF above)

But it is also very useful (hence the interest to work with MuseScore!!) to display the noteheads separately, because there may be cases where the two similar notes can be played on two different strings.

For example:


In reply to by Herb Ray

I don't make the rules of notation. I just report them. Again, while it's common to break this rule in the specific case of solo guitar music, the rule followed in centuries of published music for other isntruments is to not combine them. This makes it much clearer if it's two separate people reading the voices (eg, for choral music) or to follow the contrapuntal motion ()eg, for a fugue). So to people accustomed to reading choral or contrapuntal keyboard music, the answer is that your second example is infinitely clearer, because it's what they are accustomed to. That or a version that clearly shows the first C as an eighth note in the top voice. Understanding the difference is quite significant if you are a soprano trying to figure out whether or not to actually sing that first note! But indeed, not relevant on guitar.

So again, Musescore does the normal correct thing that applies to the vast majority of all published music for all instruments over several centuries by default, but also makes it simple to override this when desired for the specific case of solo guitar music or other exceptions. Best of both worlds.

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