Keyboard parts with dancing hands

This might be easier done than said, but in keyboard parts where the hands are dancing over-under each other is there a graceful way to write that?

A good example is Bach D minor keyboard concerto starting around measure 62, with alternating hands sharing the fun in treble clef

The score there puts only a single rest at the beginning of the measure but beyond that dispenses with rests altogether

A little bit of a tangent here but as I’m looking at that score it makes me curious what kind of system publishers used prior to the advent of computers…


Alternating stem direction perhaps?

Depending on the passage, you may want to:

  • manually flip stems of beam groups (in the same voice)
  • use 2 voices for automatic stem directions, and hide any unnecessary rests
  • cross-staff some notes (yields fewer rests) – if the division between hands is clear

Yes but mainly it’s about eliminating all the rests that would clutter up the staff

If there’s a way to insert a pic here it would go a long way explaining the question

Yes, by all means post a screenshot (or, better, a small project file) so we can see the notes.

I’d say 2 voices is the way to go here. You can hide whole swaths of unwanted rests at once by selecting the whole passage (notes and all) and doing Remove Rests.

Also since the figuration is so consistent, you can get one bar formatted the way you want, repeat it and repitch. Especially for the last 4 bars in that sample, with 3 separate voices on one staff.

That’s the kind of thing I was hoping for

I searched through the pdf manual but at around 2000 pages I ended by taking a long much needed nap

Further on in the same passage, would be a mess w all those rests written

Back to the tangent

Anyone know how publishers wrote out scores in the 20th century? in the age of typewriters?

What’s happening now with software is pretty remarkable if a less calming experience than paper and pencil, and of course there’s playback

Edit: I forgot this one:


OT, if you are then interested in Metal Plates:

This is quite simple to achieve in Dorico…

1 Like

Define simple…

Not many steps needed. Enter notes in 2 voices for a bar (or even just a beat) and hide the rests. Duplicate and repitch. Hide the bar rests in the bottom staff.

Dorico avoids collisions automatically, and the default note spacing is pretty good.

Just for clarity, the command is called „remove rests“ and can be found under the edit menu.

Other methods are possible, but these are the steps I took (note: I found the manual beam step was important to preserve the beaming when rests were removed - though there may be a beaming option to do this)