Tie (music)

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Dotted note notation and the equivalent durations in tied note notation. Dotted notes3.svg
Dotted note notation and the equivalent durations in tied note notation.
Tie across the beat, followed by identical rhythm notated without tie Tie across beat.png
Tie across the beat, followed by identical rhythm notated without tie

In music notation, a tie is a curved line connecting the heads of two notes of the same pitch, indicating that they are to be played as a single note with a duration equal to the sum of the individual notes' values. A tie is similar in appearance to a slur; however, slurs join notes of different pitches which need to be played independently, but seamlessly (legato).


A tie is a curved line above or below two notes of the same pitch, which indicates that they are to be performed like one note equal in length to the two. [1]

A writer in 1901, said that the following definition is preferable to the previous:

A tie is a curved line connecting two notes of the same pitch, to show that the second is a continuation of the first. [2]

Other sources:

Ties...are a notational device used to show the prolongation of a note into succeeding beats, as opposed to a repetition of a note. ... Our modern tie-mark, first systematically used in the early sixteenth century [ Baroque music ], is a curved line that connects the two successive note-heads indicating, together, the total time value desired. ... Ties are normally employed to join the time-value of two notes of identical pitch. [3]

The tie is a curved line that connects two adjacent notes of the same pitch into a single sound with a duration equal to the sum of both note values. [4]

The duration of a note can be prolonged...using a tie to the one note over to another of the same pitch....A tie adds to the time value of the first note the value of the succeeding note or notes that are paired together by the tie or ties. [5]

A tie is a curved line connecting two notes of the same pitch, thereby creating a durational value equal to the sum of the values of the note notes. This is necessary when a note is to be sustained over a bar line, and under certain conditions, within the same measure. [6] [lower-alpha 1]

Ties are normally placed opposite the stem direction of the notes, unless there are two or more voices simultaneously. [3]

The tie shown at the top right connects a quarter note (crotchet) to a sixteenth note (semiquaver), creating a note 54 as long as a quarter note, or five times as long as a sixteenth note—there is no single note value to express this duration. However, in some cases one might tie two notes that could be written with a single note value, such as a quarter note tied to an eighth note (the same length as a dotted quarter). This might be because:

Tie (music)
Tie (music)

Several notes in succession can be tied together. Such a succession can also be part of a larger, slurred phrase, in which case, ties and slurs must be used simultaneously and distinguishably.


The tie first appeared in 1523 in the Recerchari, motetti, canzoni by Marco Antonio Cavazzoni. The tie was used to show the duration of differing harmonies on early figured basses to show how they should be sounded over the held bass note. Many early pianists, like Beethoven, used the tie in many pieces to show the demand of gentle reiteration. [7]


  1. to indicate beat grouping, the example given is Figure rythmique noire hampe haut.svg . Figure rythmique croche hampe haut.svg ˘ Figure rythmique croche hampe haut.svg Figure rythmique croche hampe haut.svg Figure rythmique deux croches lien haut.svg in 4/4

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Musical notation Graphic writing of musical parameters

Music notation or musical notation is any system used to visually represent aurally perceived music played with instruments or sung by the human voice through the use of written, printed, or otherwise-produced symbols, including notation for durations of absence of sound such as rests.

Musical note Sign used in musical notation, a pitched sound

In music, a note is a symbol denoting a musical sound. In English usage a note is also the sound itself.

The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats (pulses) are contained in each measure (bar), and which note value is equivalent to a beat.

In music performance and notation, legato indicates that musical notes are played or sung smoothly and connected. That is, the player makes a transition from note to note with no intervening silence. Legato technique is required for slurred performance, but unlike slurring, legato does not forbid rearticulation.

Tremolo Trembling sound effect

In music, tremolo, or tremolando, is a trembling effect. There are two types of tremolo.

Eighth note

An eighth note (American) or a quaver (British) is a musical note played for one eighth the duration of a whole note (semibreve), hence the name. This amounts to twice the value of the sixteenth note (semiquaver). It is half the duration of a quarter note (crotchet), one quarter the duration of a half note (minim), one eighth the duration of whole note (semibreve), one sixteenth the duration of a double whole note (breve), and one thirty-second the duration of a longa. It is the equivalent of the fusa in mensural notation.

A grace note is a kind of music notation denoting several kinds of musical ornaments. It is usually printed smaller to indicate that it is melodically and harmonically nonessential. When occurring by itself, a single grace note normally indicates the intention of an acciaccatura. When they occur in groups, grace notes can be interpreted to indicate any of several different classes of ornamentation, depending on interpretation. For percussion, such as drums, a related concept are ghost notes—nonessential but supportive snare-hits at a lower volume.

Bar (music)

In musical notation, a bar is a segment of time corresponding to a specific number of beats in which each beat is represented by a particular note value and the boundaries of the bar are indicated by vertical bar lines. Dividing music into bars provides regular reference points to pinpoint locations within a musical composition. It also makes written music easier to follow, since each bar of staff symbols can be read and played as a batch.

A slur is a symbol in Western musical notation indicating that the notes it embraces are to be played without separation. A slur is denoted with a curved line generally placed over the notes if the stems point downward, and under them if the stems point upwards.

Prime functions of the slur in keyboard music...are to delineate the extent of a phrase line and to indicate the legato performance of melodies or arpeggiated chords.

Both accents and slurs relate directly to woodwind articulation...(and brass as well) [since they] employ a variety of tonguing effects [which are indicated by use of, "the correct form," of accents and slurs].

[With bowed string instruments] A curved slur over or under two or more notes indicates that these notes are to be connected...Slurs are only partially indicative of phrasing; if an actual phrase mark is necessary, it should be notated above the passage with broken lines.

Metric modulation

In music, metric modulation is a change in pulse rate (tempo) and/or pulse grouping (subdivision) which is derived from a note value or grouping heard before the change. Examples of metric modulation may include changes in time signature across an unchanging tempo, but the concept applies more specifically to shifts from one time signature/tempo (metre) to another, wherein a note value from the first is made equivalent to a note value in the second, like a pivot or bridge. The term "modulation" invokes the analogous and more familiar term in analyses of tonal harmony, wherein a pitch or pitch interval serves as a bridge between two keys. In both terms, the pivoting value functions differently before and after the change, but sounds the same, and acts as an audible common element between them. Metric modulation was first described by Richard Franko Goldman (1951) while reviewing the Cello Sonata of Elliott Carter, who prefers to call it tempo modulation. Another synonymous term is proportional tempi.

A technique in which a rhythmic pattern is superposed on another, heterometrically, and then supersedes it and becomes the basic metre. Usually, such time signatures are mutually prime, e.g., 4
and 3
, and so have no common divisors. Thus the change of the basic metre decisively alters the numerical content of the beat, but the minimal denominator remains constant in duration.

In music, a tuplet is "any rhythm that involves dividing the beat into a different number of equal subdivisions from that usually permitted by the time-signature ". This is indicated by a number, indicating the fraction involved. The notes involved are also often grouped with a bracket or a slur.

Dotted note Musical note duration

In Western musical notation, a dotted note is a note with a small dot written after it. In modern practice, the first dot increases the duration of the basic note by half of its original value. This means that a dotted note is equivalent to writing the basic note tied to a note of half the value – for instance, a dotted half note is equivalent to a half note tied to a quarter note. Subsequent dots add progressively halved value, as shown in the example to the right. Though theoretically possible, a note with more than three dots is highly uncommon; only quadruple dots have been attested. If the original note is considered as being of length 1, then a quintuple dot would only be 1/32 longer than the quadruple dotted note. The difficulty may be seen by comparing dotted notation to tied notation: a quarter note is equivalent to 2 tied eighth notes, a dotted quarter = 3 tied eighth notes, double dotted = 7 tied sixteenth notes, triple dotted = 15 tied thirty-second notes, and quadruple dotted = 31 tied sixty-fourth notes. Although shorter notes do occur, sixty-fourth notes are considered the shortest practical duration found in musical notation.

Braille music

Braille music is a braille code that allows music to be notated using braille cells so music can be read by visually impaired musicians. The system was incepted by Louis Braille.

In music, an accent is an emphasis, stress, or stronger attack placed on a particular note or set of notes, or chord, either as a result of its context or specifically indicated by an accent mark. Accents contribute to the articulation and prosody of a performance of a musical phrase. Accents may be written into a score or part by a composer or added by the performer as part of his or her interpretation of a musical piece.

The numbered musical notation, is a musical notation system widely used in music publications in China. It dates back to the system designed by Pierre Galin, known as Galin-Paris-Chevé system. It is comparable to the Gongche notation from the Tang Dynasty.


A neume is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation.

Mensural notation

Mensural notation is the musical notation system used for European vocal polyphonic music from the later part of the 13th century until about 1600. The term "mensural" refers to the ability of this system to describe precisely measured rhythmic durations in terms of numerical proportions between note values. Its modern name is inspired by the terminology of medieval theorists, who used terms like musica mensurata or cantus mensurabilis to refer to the rhythmically defined polyphonic music of their age, as opposed to musica plana or musica choralis, i.e., Gregorian plainchant. Mensural notation was employed principally for compositions in the tradition of vocal polyphony, whereas plainchant retained its own, older system of neume notation throughout the period. Besides these, some purely instrumental music could be written in various forms of instrument-specific tablature notation.

Beam (music)

In musical notation, a beam is a horizontal or diagonal line used to connect multiple consecutive notes to indicate rhythmic grouping. Only eighth notes (quavers) or shorter can be beamed. The number of beams is equal to the number of flags that would be present on an unbeamed note. Beaming refers to the conventions and use of beams. A primary beam connects a note group unbroken, while a secondary beam is interrupted or partially broken.

The Tuʻungafasi or Tongan music notation is a subset of the standard music notation, originally developed by the missionary James Egan Moulton in the 19th century for singing church hymns in Tonga.


  1. McLaughlin, James M. (1902). Elements and Notation of Music . Boston Ginn & Co. Quoted in Music: A Monthly Magazine (1901), p.355.
  2. (1901). Music: A Monthly Magazine, Devoted to the Art, Science, Technic and Literature of Music, Volumes 20-21 , p.355. W.S.B. Mathews.
  3. 1 2 Read, Gardner (1969). Music Notation, p.110. Cresendo, Taplinger: New York. ISBN   0-8008-5453-5.
  4. Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.8. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  5. Castellini, John (1962). Rudiments of Music, p.51-2. W.W. Norton. [ISBN unspecified].
  6. Sorce, Richard (1995). Music Theory for the Music Professional , p.11. Scarecrow Press. ISBN   9781880157206.
  7. Rastall, Richard. "Tie". Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Retrieved 15 April 2020.