Disclaimer: I'm a musician but not a pianist. My hobby is to study musical scores of other instruments just to learn a little more about them and how they work.

I came across some unusual markings for the piano score of Hungarian Rhapsody 2, and I'm not sure how to interpret them.

excerpt of piano score with "Ped.", crossed circles, and "8....." markings between the staffs

In this image, what is the 8, followed by dots, followed by a circle with a cross through it? I know 8 is usually used to indicate to play an octave higher/lower than notated, but this one says just '8', rather than '8va'. Also, it's in between the treble and bass staffs so I'm not sure if this is supposed to apply to one or both of them?

excerpt of piano score with "Ped.", and crossed circles markings between the staffs

Also, in this image, the circle/cross reappears, but without the 8... Now I'm thinking it might be a replacement for the star that indicates to release the pedal. But this seems redundant as there are sections that don't use a star when a new pedal marking is listed.

So a bit confused how all this is meant to be interpreted, so if anyone can demystify some of this, that would be much appreciated.

1 Answer 1


The 8 is indeed a different notation for 8va but means the same thing. The cross is independent of that — it corresponds to the Ped. marking and indicates a pedal release point.

Here is an edition (Raabe, mm. 126–129) that is more clear to interpret:

Raabe edition mm. 126–129
(Image source: IMSLP)

  • Thanks, that makes sense. Strange my copy uses an unusual symbol for pedal release if there is already a standard symbol. Also it seems a bit redundant in some places, because in order to press the pedal down again, one would obviously need to release it first. So that seems like it would occur naturally and doesn't need an explicit symbol marking. But again, I'm not a pianist... :)
    – user94152
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 15:23
  • 2
    @user94152 Although the asterisk has become a standard pedal release symbol, the circle-cross was standard for a period of time. The edition you're examining is an older one in which that symbol was more commonly used. It's the convention to match pedal-on with pedal-off just to avoid any confusion, because the pedal could be released sooner than the next pedal-on, and to only use the release symbol occasionally would create real ambiguity.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 17:29
  • The circle-cross looks like a Coda sign, but now a Coda sign is usually placed above the topmost staff.
    – Vighnesh
    Commented Jan 6 at 15:31

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