Ties between whole notes

I'm using a well-known piano instruction book, "Adult Piano Adventures" by Nancy and Randall Faber.

Several tunes have two or more whole notes -- of the same tone -- in 4/4 time, connected by ties or a daisy-chain of ties.

Most (all?) books say that a tie between two identical notes means that you strike the tone once, but its duration is the sum of the time intervals, eg. two whole notes tied together in 4/4 would be 8 beats worth.

Trouble is, no note is going to sustain that long on a piano, at any reasonable tempo, even if I hold the key down.

So how am I to interpret these marks? Let the note fade away (usually by the first measure or two) or re-strike it, which seems to be at odds with what I've read about ties?

I see videos on Youtube of people playing these tunes and see them being played both ways.

1 Answer


Hi There,

As you say, generally tied notes of the same pitch are played for the duration of the summed values. I'm not a piano player, but I'd say just hold the note as long as it will sound and let it fade out. Seems to me that's what the composer would have wanted. Otherwise why use the ties?


Dec 29, 2015

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