I was studying a score that had this strange symbol in the violin part. It's a triangular notehead at the end of a glissando/portamento. The note seems to be suspended, not connect to the staff with any ledger lines:

Unfamiliar notation in a part for violin: a glissando leads to a note with a triangular notehead that is suspended above the staff, but without any ledger lines

Does anyone know what this notation means? How should I interpret it?

I tried looking it up, but no luck. Notation music software such as MuseScore doesn't seem to have this as a feature.

1 Answer 1


The symbol indicates the highest pitch possible on the instrument (in this particular case: a glissando to the highest possible pitch). It only makes sense for an instrument with an undefined highest pitch (otherwise the actual highest pitch should be explicitly written).

The same symbol flipped below the stave and pointing downwards indicates the lowest possible note.

This symbol can be found in Elaine Gould's Behind Bars, pages 12,13,143.

  • So should the notehead be read as an arrowhead, rather than a triangle as such?
    – gidds
    Oct 30, 2023 at 12:50
  • @gidds It doesn't matter whether you call it an arrowhead or a triangle. I would call it an arrowhead.
    – PiedPiper
    Oct 30, 2023 at 13:17

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