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Notation question

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New Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

I'm new to the site, I've dabbled in guitar for a long time but have never learned to read sheet music.

Trying to describe it outright seems kind of silly so I'll simply point it out, in the first example of Comfortably Numb in the "Easy Songs for Beginners" section the second and third chord are separated by notation totally alien to me a sideways parentheses if you want my uneducated opinion. I've seen it like that-- bridging two notes or chords, and also hanging off of a single note into nothing.

What's it all mean?

Active Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 11


I think there is a forum specifically for the lessons. Where the guys that write them answr queries on them.

I think you are referring to a tie (same notes). This indicates that the 2 notes are played as one with their duration added.

In the example, I think it is being used to show a quick strum that is sustained.

What a tie to nothing does ? Sustain to infinity or end of bar would be my best guess.


Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 827

It's called a tie. It's used to make note values of longer duration that aren't available in the regular notation system on it's own or with a dot (multiplies the base note value by 1.5). The tie can also be used to hold note values over from one measure to another measure.

So, in the Comfortably Numb example that tie joins the eighth note chord with the half note chord for something that is 2 and a half beats long. The earlier dotted quarter note chord gets 1 and a half beats - 1 for the quarter note and an extra half because of the dot (the dot multiplies the base note value by 1.5). So, for the whole measure there is 1 and a half beats plus the 2 and a half beats giving a total of 4 beats.

You can see the effect of this tie reflected in the strumming pattern. In the measure with the tie you don't strum the half note chord only the eighth note chord and then hold it until the next measure. Without the tie you strum both the eighth note chord and the half note chord.

You need to be careful with ties because a similar notation is used for slurs (bends, slides, hammers, pulls, etc) except in the tie the notes are identical on both sides of the tie and in the slur the notes are not.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson