Writing Multi-Timbral Phrases

by Stephan Ziemba

For a multi timbrel instrument, such as piano, how do you write notes that are played out of sync with notes that are held? I am trying to score a fairly simple line where A is a whole note in each bar, and an eighth note C follows after a quarter rest. This seems easy, as A is in the bass staff and C is associated with the treble staff, but what does one do when all the held notes and other notes are in the same staff?

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Nov 30, 2015
Music Scoring Software
by: Simon

The cheapest is free! Have a look at Muse Score which would be more than capable.

On the more reasonable paid front Finale PrintMusic 2014 1.0 should do the trick.

Although I use Avid Sibelius myself I have stopped at v7.5 because I am unconvinced of Avid's future development since they bought out the Sibelius company. I am waiting to see what Steinberg release, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.

Good luck with your scoring. If you want to see complex examples I suggest having a look at some of the Bach Well Tempered Keyboard Fugues or inventions.

All the best!

Nov 30, 2015
Thanks, Can You Recommend Examples and Alternative Software?
by: Anonymous

Thanks. Is there an affordable software that is robust enough to score the multi rhythm phrases? My example was extremely elementary. Now I really want to see some fly crap! LOL Can you recommend some piano and guitar scores that show good complex examples?

Nov 29, 2015
How to write different rhythms on one staff
by: Simon

Hi Stephan,

If you are writing by hand just put the tails of the shorter notes in the opposite direction to the long notes.

I have made a couple of examples. Here is how it would work in the bass clef when the moving part is higher than the held note.

Here is how it would work in the treble clef when the moving part is lower than the held note.

If you are using music software such as Sibelius you need to use different parts or voices. You can change these at the bottom of the keypad here:

Search 'using different voices' in the Sibelius help (or Finale or whatever software you are using) and you should be able to find out how to do this.

Sibelius shows voice 1 as blue and voice 2 as green like this

Also note that the Quarter Note rest moves slightly sometimes to stop clashes.

I hope this was helpful!


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