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Posted by Robert Thomas on 11th February 2011

Ties are graphically similar to slurs, but they combine two notes of identical pitch (which may be enharmonically spelled) into a longer time value. Ties are always placed on the note head side, are closer to note heads than slurs, and the ends of ties are placed between note heads. As with slurs, ties should not touch staff lines.

23rd Post Ties And Slurs Image

Where there is a single voice, ties connecting notes with downward stems are placed above the note heads, and ties connecting notes with upward stems are placed below the note heads. Where notes with stems in opposite directions are tied (as may be the case with two enharmonically spelled notes), the tie is placed under the notes on and below the second space, and above the notes from the middle line upward. Where there are two or more voices, the ties will always be placed on the outside (that is, on the same side as the stems).

When a chord is tied, the tie for the top note arcs upward and is placed above the note heads, while the tie for the bottom note arcs down and is placed below the note heads. In four-note chords, the top two ties arc up while the bottom two ties arc down. In three- and five-note chords, the tie for the middle note is placed according to its position on the staff. For notes without stems (whole notes and double-whole notes), ties are placed as if the notes were stemmed.

23rd Post Tied Chords Image

When dotted notes are tied, the position of the tie is altered slightly so as not to interfere with the dot.1 Ties should never cross one another, and crossing a stem with a tie should be avoided if at all possible.

1 If necessary, the tie can be raised, lowered, or have its endpoints altered.

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