The final bar in the flute part of an orchestra piece has a notation I've never seen and can't find an explanation for. I thought the small circle might denote an overtone but I'm not sure. And the half bracket I've only seen in piano notations. Anybody know what I'm supposed to play? A bar showing a D3 quarter note with a small circle just above it and a half bracket just to the right of it. Then a quarter break and a D1 quarter note.

  • What’s the piece? Are there any recordings available? Apr 23, 2023 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


It's almost certainly sloppy music preparation. It looks very much like there is an octave sign over the notes with an extension line with a hook at the showing the end of the 8va passage, but it's so low that the '8' has merged with the note. Looking at the measure before and the dynamic supports this: it would be logical for both parts to go up for the last measure.

  • That makes a lot of sense! All of the music is pretty sloppy (I'm currently cleaning it up). Thanks a lot, I didn't see that.
    – Antonia
    Apr 23, 2023 at 9:35
  • I think you're right, although there's maybe 'va' missing, which would determine exactly. Wonder if 8va refers to just the top note, or maybe both on the treble clef.
    – Tim
    Apr 23, 2023 at 9:48
  • 3
    @Tim It obviously refers to both notes, anything else would make no sense.
    – PiedPiper
    Apr 23, 2023 at 10:39
  • 1
    @Tim the "va" in "8va" is far from obligatory; the number 8 frequently appears by itself.
    – phoog
    Apr 23, 2023 at 15:00
  • 5
    @ToddWilcox the harmonic circle is typically engraved with a constant line width as a perfect circle. The varying stroke width here and the oval shape match the usual Italic 8 used for ottava notation very well. On top of that, if it were carefully engraved it shouldn't touch the note head. It looks more like a bug in the layout logic than anything.
    – phoog
    Apr 23, 2023 at 15:13

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