The Notation

I dont know what exactly reffering to. Anyone can explaining to me?

EDIT: this notation appear on "450 Noëls" by Rouher, Edouard Marcel Victor

  • Can you say which of the 450 pieces? Which edition of the IMSLP options? Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 12:51
  • @AndyBonner is the IMSLP #314558 and #314560 Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 12:54
  • And I see now, it's throughout. Noel #2 uses it within the piece. I hope an organist can chime in, but it seems to me to have to do with indicating registers/stops. Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


The piece is for (pipe) organ. Organs generally have more than one keyboard - one or more for the hands (manuals) and one for the feet. See for example this page at organtutor.byu.edu. These different keyboards are linked to various stops. Different stops control different sounds. The selection of stops (and assignment of particular notes to particular keyboards) is often left to the performer, and is known as registration.

In the scores you are looking at, someone - either composer or editor - has specified particular assignments of notes to keyboards. You can see in the pages before the scores this sort of thing:

Legend of what symbols indicate what keyboards

Note the G, P, R on the left.

Then, in a score, for example #221:

Start of a score, with notes braced across the grand staff, and "R" highlighted

The R indicates that all the braced voices are to be played on the keyboard that R refers to (Swell, in English)

Sometimes the indicated keyboard changes midpiece:

Section of score where indicated keyboard changes

Here, the instruction is to use Swell for the top two voices of the piano section, but (optionally) switch to Great-Organ or Choir for the forte section.

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