I almost wonder if this is a weird way to draw an arpeggio, but they seem like distinct arrows or left angle brackets each on a line to the left of a chord in piano music on the left-hand bass clef. They span the entire chord's length and include lines that don't have notes. How would you interpret this? I can't find a related answer or this listed in any reference.

picture of the notation

Edit: This is a hymn called "Living for Jesus" composed by C. Harold Lowden. This is the third to the last bar. At the bottom of the page it says "Copyright, 1945. Renewal. The Rodeheaver Co., owner." It's a part of hymnal "Inspired Hymns" printed 1967 - second printing, copyright 1951 by Singspiration, Inc., compiled by Alfred B. Smith. Published by Zondervan Publishing House of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The arrangement looks a lot different than others I've seen online for the same song, including a lot of grace notes in the chorus.

  • 1
    I would have voted for quite long ledger lines combined with a parenthesis-like symbol, but the topmost "arrow" does not correspond to a required ledger line.
    – guidot
    Nov 28, 2020 at 16:35
  • Yep, definitely overstrike, not arrows, as @guidot said Nov 28, 2020 at 18:53

2 Answers 2


It's a weird arpeggio line. Can't think of anything else it COULD be!

You've added the information that this was published in 1967. I'm wondering if it was produced with one of those 'music typewriters' that were popular in the mid-20th century before being blown out of the water by computer typesetting. I don't think it's Letraset.

  • @ToddWilcox I don't know much about the engraving process. For a hymnal, would you expect there to be several engravers, or might there be one engraver or firm that I could potentially track down and find a comment about this tactic, for? The engraver would be employed by the publisher, right?
    – snydergd
    Nov 27, 2020 at 20:10

Just to put an exclamation point on @LaurencePayne's answer, here's the same measure of the same arrangement from https://hymnary.org/tune/living_for_jesus_a_life_that_lowden

"Living for Jesus" m. 30

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