Pictured below is an excerpt from Sibelius’s Tapiola, (Bar 460):

A few bars of an orchestral score showing the parts for violins I and II. A squiggle-like symbol appears above some notes.  One of these symbols is circled.

It looks to me like a trill/mordent on its side, to fit into the condensed score. But is it?

  • 13
    Extreme gladness that people have taken the time to be helpful without making any attempt to make me feel stupid. More power to their elbows!
    – iainH
    Aug 26, 2021 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


It's not an ornament; it's a quarter rest. The Violins I are divided, and the upper half play rest + quarter note while the lower half play half notes.


It's rests for separate voices. If you got a "div." for the passage at some place before, the violin I section is divided into two groups playing two voices.

If not, you start playing an E5 on the A string on beat 1, then tilt the bow on beat 2 to play the same note on the E string as well. Rinse, repeat. Two voices on a single instrument. The second bar, however, makes this interpretation rather unlikely since it would require distributing the voices across D and A string in a manner and positions that are unlikely to sound good in an orchestral setting.

  • 3
    Yes, there was a previous Divisi I didn’t include.
    – iainH
    Aug 25, 2021 at 12:52

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