In Cedric Dent's "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands, this symbol appears attached to the note on "-ands." From first glance, it seems like a poorly drawn legato, but there is a perfectly good one at the note just before it, so what is this thing called, and how should I go about singing it? (Right now I'm singing ha-, holding my air, and then letting it out on -ands almost as a separate word) I tried searching for posts and articles related to "curve going upwards to next note" and "detached legato" and also "musical symbols" and "cut-off ties" but I can't seem to find this anywhere else.Picture of sheet music that displays the musical gesture in question

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    @Aaron, this could be found under curve but these curves look quite different. Oct 1, 2021 at 8:16
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    @AlbrechtHügli You're correct. The symbol in this question was mentioned in the comments of the earlier question, but not in the main answer. I've updated the answer there to make clear the two symbols mean the same thing and to explicitly show the one used in this question. Thanks for catching that.
    – Aaron
    Oct 1, 2021 at 13:00

3 Answers 3


This is the sign for a ‘scoop’, indicating that you start singing a little lower than the target pitch (perhaps a semitone or two), and slide/‘reach’ up to it.

In this case, all three affected parts will probably start around the same pitch as their previous note (which makes the tenor notation confusing, because it looks like it's sliding up from the bass note!). However, that's just a coincidence; in general, the start pitch doesn't depend on the previous note, which could be higher, or missing entirely (if the scoop occurs at the start of a phrase or even the whole song).

It doesn't necessarily affect the articulation; you can scoop a note in the middle of a phrase — which may involve an abrupt change of pitch at the start of the scoop, just as you would at the start of any other note. (That doesn't apply in this case, however, as the previous notes are staccato, giving a natural break before the scoop.)

  • At least in the piece in question, the scoop would not be so wide as a semitone or two. The stylistically correct scoop would be, perhaps, a quarter tone.
    – Aaron
    Oct 1, 2021 at 13:02

It's a sort of vocal glissando. The word is sung, with the last part of it sliding up from the first to the second note's pitch. Can be done best with vox or instruments which can slide or bend notes - violin, guitar and trombone spring to mind. (Infinite pitching).

  • Is the first pitch really relevant? What if the sign comes before the first note of the piece?
    – gidds
    Oct 1, 2021 at 8:54
  • @gidds - since the first pitch is sung right up to where the lift starts to the final note, it must be important. It's the pitch the gliss starts on. You're not going to start on any other note, surely? If it comes before a start note, obviously the sung pitch will start lower and rise to the written note - by how much, is singer/song dependant.
    – Tim
    Oct 1, 2021 at 8:59
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    I disagree; but rather than get into a long discussion, I'll post a separate answer.
    – gidds
    Oct 1, 2021 at 10:32
  • @gidds - actually, in this case, the previous note is cut short (staccato), but whether one used that pitch, or any other - I await your answer.
    – Tim
    Oct 1, 2021 at 10:44

Like Tim says: this is a notation symbol for glissando applied for singers: let your voice glide like a Trombone:


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