In my piece of music for cello, there is a straight line above two notes. It is dead straight and over two E's (and then again over two A's), the first note in each pair is a dotted crochet and the other a quaver.

What does this notation mean?

Two instances of a dotted crotchet followed by a quaver, where a long horizontal line sits above them.

  • 5
    Please add the composer and title and, if possible, the source (i.e., Schirmer score, MuseScore download, etc.).
    – Aaron
    Nov 28, 2023 at 22:55
  • 4
    This isn't a standard symbol, so chances are there's a text explanation somewhere, perhaps at the beginning? Nov 28, 2023 at 23:00
  • There's a similar sign in the question 'What does this symbol mean in cello music?'. That doesn't make it a dupe, but it may help answer the question.
    – Tim
    Nov 29, 2023 at 9:48
  • @Tim Do you mean this question?  That's the only one I can find with that title — but the only symbols discussed there are ‘ϙ’ (indicating the thumb), and roman numerals (indicating particular strings).
    – gidds
    Nov 29, 2023 at 10:29
  • 2
    @Tim The symbols in that question seem significantly different (brackets rather than lines, spanning several different pitches instead of two of the same pitch); and they're purely incidental, with no mention or explanation.  How could it help with this question?
    – gidds
    Nov 29, 2023 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


Some of my violin etudes have that sign, and it usually means that you should keep your finger on the string for the duration of the line. Usually, it's meant to train the left hand frame to minimize changes in intonations. That said, I have not seen this in a repertoire piece, only in etudes. I have also seen this used in orchestra bowing / fingering annotations.

  • Also, it would be odd for it to connect two notes of the same pitch. Of course you'll keep that finger on the string! The etude use you're talking about is often for less obvious things, like if you play a first finger, then a third finger, then a first finger, and the first "1" is followed by a long horizontal line over the next two notes, showing that you should not lift the 1 even when playing the 3. Jan 20 at 21:43

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