help needed: what does this symbol mean?

November 14, 2016 at 10:19 PM · Hello!

I found the following symbol in a composition from the 1920s. The part is for a solo violin and I don't know what these red-circled "crosses" mean. Does anyone here know what its all about?

Thanks!

Tobias

Replies (29)

November 14, 2016 at 10:40 PM · I've never seen that symbol in music. Perhaps it is a reminder to "stay up there!"

November 14, 2016 at 11:37 PM · I would say that the key signature is being written out in each bar, as sharps were written as "x"'s by Vivaldi, but this from 1920, and no C or D is present in either bar... ?

November 14, 2016 at 11:56 PM · Breath mark? (like a comma, indicating a slight break between notes)

That's all I've got.

November 15, 2016 at 12:19 AM · LH pizz on the third beat?

November 15, 2016 at 01:19 AM · Quarter rests? I don't know the time signature of the piece, so, yeah, that might work. :)

November 15, 2016 at 01:22 AM · Seeing as the composer wrote in what looks like a reminder "g" for what I presume is Sul G, I think Andrew is most likely on the mark.

November 15, 2016 at 01:24 AM · My orchestra director showed us that when there were x's if place of an accidental on a double/triple stop it was meant to denote multiple sharps. Though I don't believe that is relevant to this.

November 15, 2016 at 02:43 PM · I posted this question to several musicians I know, and curiously received little serious response, so that looks like an unique symbol. But the best idea so far pointed to the fact that the symbols are most likely not randomly placed but connected to a note. The first cross lines cut at the c, the second cross centers in a d. That fits to the other notes and so seems pretty likely correct. But what should happen at that moment. Left pizzicato was mentioned and would vaguely correspond with the common symbol +. Other ideas now?

November 15, 2016 at 05:57 PM · The x's are carefully placed, in each case a seventh above the the preceding note and a sixth above the following note. Could they be marks for silent guide finger placements?

November 15, 2016 at 06:03 PM · Perhaps just a home-grown "breath" mark?

November 15, 2016 at 07:56 PM · My thought, similar to what others have noted, is that it means to remain on the G string and play the notes with extended fingers, similar to the "x" notation used when playing a note with an extended 4th finger.

November 15, 2016 at 09:00 PM · Who is the composer? Anyway, a large .X. with dots in the middle, taking up a whole bar indicates a kind of repeat. But within a bar like that, I've never seen anything like it. As Adrian said, I'm also guessing a kind of peculiar luft-pause.

November 16, 2016 at 12:22 AM · Any other guesses? :)

November 16, 2016 at 12:35 AM · There's a "V" in the previous bar. Does that offer any clues?

November 16, 2016 at 01:01 AM · Maybe it is indicating a cue in another part; perhaps a percussion sound just before the 4th beat.

November 16, 2016 at 02:05 AM · Tobias, if you can post a link to a professional performance of the piece, or disclose the composer, we may be able to help and stop the speculation.

November 16, 2016 at 04:18 AM · I'm guessing it indicates some sort of lift or pause. It already says "sul G" earlier, and I assumed that V was just a misaligned up-bow. It doesn't seem to make sense as a key signature, rest or guide finger. Can you share more about the piece or the composer? That might help.

November 16, 2016 at 04:35 AM · I though the "V" also an upbow, but why not just use the usual comma for a lift?

That's why I suggested the possibility of a quarter rest, except I don't know the time signature. :)

November 16, 2016 at 10:03 AM · My hat in the ring: it's an etude type piece, worked on one string, and the marks are idiosyncratic symbols to remind the player / student to do something specific with the bow, like stop before playing the dotted quaver groups at the end of the bar.

November 16, 2016 at 01:13 PM · The time signature is 4/4. There are two measures without the funny "x" and they both contain 4 beats.

November 16, 2016 at 03:52 PM · A useful approach to the conundrum may be to play the extract as written (i.e. forte on the G-string) and see if there is anything significant on the technical side (fingering or bowing), or musically, to suggest a reason for those strange symbols in those specific places. One such reason (nothing to do with up-bows) that comes to mind from this approach is the placement of the symbols to indicate the use of the 3rd and 4th positions in the 1st and 3rd bars respectively.

November 16, 2016 at 06:28 PM · Unless the metronome marking is like 1300 I don't see anything on the "technical side" with this music...

November 16, 2016 at 08:09 PM · I've seen that symbol used before- one of my teachers used it to indicate that the note should be started in the middle of the bow. I always assumed that was his own personal notation, but maybe not?

November 16, 2016 at 08:52 PM · This is the type of thing I was thinking, J B. And starting that group mid bow would be a good instruction. Maybe your teacher had the same influence as this teacher / composer.

November 16, 2016 at 09:20 PM · I can't believe no one has cracked a joke about this symbol and what it looks like. Where's Buri?

Well I, for one, can't help myself.

Squashed mosquito.

{{Sorry, folks!}}

November 16, 2016 at 09:58 PM · Maybe that's exactly what they are, Terez, only over the years they've come to look like ink.

November 17, 2016 at 04:19 AM · I've had the occasional "guest" alight on my music at outdoor concerts . I was tempted to play them as grace notes!

November 17, 2016 at 04:25 PM · >I've had the occasional "guest" alight on my music at outdoor concerts . I was tempted to play them as grace notes!

LOL, Raphael! And John, yes, that's it!

November 18, 2016 at 05:14 AM · Could it be an indication of what the harmony is doing? (That's where the drum strikes are, etc.?)

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