enter image description hereThis symbol is on a clarinet etude sheet, but I don't have any clue what it means.

close up, looks like a + attached on top of a box

  • 3
    And who is the particular composer?
    – Tim
    Jul 11, 2022 at 10:10
  • If it's clarinet, then the key signature would help, because all those notes (B/C/C#/F/F#)use similar keys, and it may be possible to deduce the meaning from how each note should be fingered. Jul 11, 2022 at 10:21
  • 4
    Please add the title and composer.
    – Aaron
    Jul 11, 2022 at 13:21
  • 4
    As far as I know, this is not a common and standardized musical symbol, and probably has been invented by this author and explained somewhere in the text, perhaps an introduction to the book. There are several non-standard symbols: the triangle with a dot in the center, the small notes that look like 8th notes (quavers) with hollow noteheads, the numerals like "25" or "89" in italics. If you've gotten this etude out of context, like as a photocopy or pdf, I recommend finding the original publication. Jul 11, 2022 at 14:42
  • 1
    @AndyBonner I saw those as (equally nonstandard) "hollow" grace notes. Jul 12, 2022 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


I am neither a German speaker nor a clarinet player, so please make sure to translate the German text yourself!

This music comes from the Carl Baermann's Vollständige Clarinett Schule (Complete Method for Clarinet), Book 2 (Op. 64). The photo in the question is of the 5th study, Mein Liebster Gedanke (My Dearest Thought).

Op. 64 gives no information as to what any of the symbols mean (which is probably where OP's confusion stemmed from) but it does mention that Op. 63 provides an explanation. The original German text of Op. 63 mentions the following:

Bei den beiden Tönen Fis und Cis ist nebst dem was von F und C gesagt besonders zu bemerken:

a) dass beide Töne auch durch die Aushebung, welche mit dem Daumen der rechten Hand gegriffen wird, genommen werden können, welches in vielen Fällen sehr erleichtert, namentlich in ähnlichen Stellen wie z. B.:

example music etc.

Bei dieser Stelle wird von dem ersten H die Aushebung genommen und den ganzen Takt liegen gelassen. Das Zeichen für die Aushebung ist cross symbol und bleibt so lange giltig bis das Zeichen triangle symbol eintritt.

...which translates as:

In addition to what was said about F and C, the two tones F sharp and C sharp should be noted in particular:

a) that both tones can also be taken by the key which is played with the thumb of the right hand, which in many cases makes it much easier, especially in similar passages such as:

example music etc.

At this point the key is taken from the first B and left down for the whole bar. The sign for the key is cross symbol and remains valid until the sign triangle symbol appears.

This key is not present on modern clarinets.

Op. 63 and Op. 64 are available on IMSLP:


The marks are a prompt to keep the r/h fingers down when crossing the break.


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