How to Play Tied Notes

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017
Play Tied Notes

How to Play Tied Notes. In written music, tied notes are used to combine two notes and their values together. A small curved line between the note heads indicate that notes are tied together. To have a tied note, the pitch of the notes must be the same.

Count the beats of each measure out loud according to the time signature. The time signature tells you the number of beats per measure and what note gets the beat.

Begin to play your piece of music while continuing to count out loud. Counting helps you hear the beat, even when notes are not sounding.

Play the first of the tied notes as you would play any other note. Hold the note for the duration of the note value.

Continue to hold the note after the value of the first note is complete.

Sustain the note for the duration of the second note value.

Release the note after the value of the second note is complete.


If you prefer not to count out loud or are playing an instrument that doesn't allow you to count out loud, consider using a metronome. It allows you to hear the beat while playing notes or holding down tied notes. Notes are often tied from one measure to another, with the tie mark crossing the bar line in order to keep with the time signature of the piece.


Do not confuse ties with slurs. Ties are used to combine the note value of two notes into one. Slurs are used to indicate to the musician that a group of notes must be played smoothly, or legato.

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