A musical tie on the staff.
Since the first G is flat, the G's in the second measure will also be flat unless marked otherwise. Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition: A tie is a curved, horizontal line that connects two music notes of the same pitch (as opposed to legato, which connects two or more different pitches). Tied notes are held for the length of both notes; only the first is struck.

  • Look at the image: Together, these two notes equal the length of two quarter notes (a dotted quarter note equals 1 1/2 beats, plus the eighth note which equals 1/2 beat).

A few in-depth rules of the tie include the following:

  • One tie is used for each pair of notes; it is not be written over several notes like a legato. If several notes are to be affected, each note will be tied to the next with an individual line.
  • Accidentals that would normally expire after one measure can be carried into the following measure through tied notes (see image).
  • The curve of a tie may face up or down depending on where the notes fall on the staff. Many chords will have ties that face opposite directions.

Also Known As:

  • legatura di valore (It)
  • liaison de tenue / de prolongation (Fr)
  • Haltebogen; Ligatur (Ger)

Pronunciation: t-eyeMore Musical Terms: