A cellist friend asked if I had come across this coloured in cross marking (hourglass?) in bar 35 and it has me stumped. (Beethoven Sonatina, so you can discount any crazy new music articulation.)

Have tried searching for a comprehensive string articulation list but none have anything more exotic than left hand pizz...

 Beethoven Sonatina

  • The thumb would conflict with the 2 on the fourth note. Given the pattern repeats in bar 41 I’m pretty sure it’s a bowing articulation of some kind... – Tris Forster Jul 14 '20 at 13:10
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    I have to say, this really looks like a misprint to me. I’ve seen countless pieces for cello and have never seen anything like it. I’m also having trouble even imagining something that would make sense for all six of those notes. Maybe they are supposed to be tenure marks as in bar 41 and there was a font problem? Can you tell who the publisher is? – Pat Muchmore Jul 14 '20 at 14:56
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    Can you please provide the entire catalog number & instrumentation, etc? – Carl Witthoft Jul 14 '20 at 15:14
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    I did a bit of sleuthing and I believe it's the cello/piano version of WoO 43a, originally written for mandolin & harpsichord. This transcription was published by Peters (Cat. No. 4221, published 1931). I can't confirm 100% because I can only get a preview of the first page, but the fonts & bar number styling match. – Michael Seifert Jul 14 '20 at 21:08

Through @Michael Seifert excellent super-sleuthing on identification of the music edition (in comments on original question), the mark is spiccato.
The editor Joachim Stutschewsky explains this in another piece he edited:
Divertimento on Swedish Themes, Op.42 (Romberg, Bernhard)
On 2nd page has the following:
enter image description here


Several people have suggested thumb position, but it does not seem likely given it doesn't reach high enough, in my opinion.

Possibly it could mean left hand pizzicato, where the string is tapped energetically in the position of the note indicated, creating a very soft sound of that pitch. I have seen that marked with Xs in place of the note head.

I have also seen numerous notations to indicate bowing "on the bridge", which makes a very rough sound, or even under the bridge. Other possibilities include détaché or col legno (using the wood of the bow).

None of these techniques have universal notation, so they usually have a verbal indication above the score, and then adopt a symbol that was available to the typesetter indicating to which notes it applies. Possibly there is an earlier example in the score which has the extra verbal notation and it was omitted in this location?


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