How to play this measure?

by Jimmy
(Gilbert, AZ, USA)

Hello, I am a beginner pianist and I have a question about how to play this measure. This piece is 4/4 in F minor. Since the note values add up to 5 beats in the treble clef (1/4 + 1/4 + 2/4 + 1/4) does that mean you play the last quarter note when the previous half note is halfway done? If that is the case, how would you play the last quarter note? I don't how it's possible to reach that last note.

Comments for How to play this measure?

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You're welcome!
by: Maria

And thanks for the info!

All the best,

by: Jimmy

Thank you! This is measure 20 of Because of You by Kelly Clarkson (CD version).

by: Maria

Hi Jimmy, and thank you for your question!

Yes, I see how this can be a bit confusing. The measure actually shows 3 "voices", although the last "voice" only shows itself under the last 2 beats on the treble staff.

It works like this:

The right hand plays 3 chords ("voice" 1, stems up), the last of those chords stays for 2 beats. They make 4 beats.

Now, the second "voice" pops in under the last chord with first a quarter rest and then an Eb as a quarter note, so together they are 2 beats. But they are counted together with "voice" 1! So, no more than 4 beats all together.

You should play both these "voices" in your right hand like so: Fingers 5-3-2 plays the chord, and your thumb plays the last note on the last beat while holding the chord.

Piano music often has different "voices" in a score. Think of them as being different instruments! But since we have only two hands, we have to figure out clever ways to play them. ;)

The beats add up only vertically- so everything written on top of each other vertically, count together- like you do when playing both the treble and bass clef staves together.

In this case however, it's the 9th in the chord (DbMaj9) that you simply play one beat later than the rest of the chord.

I hope this made it easier!

PS. Perhaps you could share what piece this is?

Happy Practicing!

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