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I am typesetting a Cambini Quartet. In the score for the cello part I see the following phrase:

enter image description here

What does it mean? It appears to say "silonveut".

This is the context (I don't think the piece is contemporary enough to consider the salamander-looking thing to be part of the music; apologies for that):

enter image description here (Bonus points: Is the measure supposed to be 8va or is that just a slur?)

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

I assume it's french "si l'on veut" - "at one's pleasure" - "ad libitum". It means that the performer may decide freely playing the triples as written or to octavate them (as IMHO it isn't a slur but a 8va bracket).

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Important addendum to this: in older cello music such as this, when written in the treble clef it is to be played an octave lower than written. So the 8va would actually make it be sounding pitch. –  Pat Muchmore Mar 24 at 23:57
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