What is this symbol? It is from the viola part of Conversations in Silence by Conni Ellisor.

Music staff with a note on it, a symbol appears above the note.  The symbols looks like a circle with a short vertical line sticking out the top, and there is another slightly longer line tangental to the top of the circle.

Excerpt of score showing a measure with the afore mentioned symbol above three consecutive notes, proceeded by the instruction "pizz."

  • It has partial elements of a snap pizzicato and a left hand pizzicato. Dec 24, 2023 at 19:30
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    I believe this measure occurs at 3:18 in the following youtube recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QklUW0vSFDI&t=3m18s (i.e., the end of the first movement).
    – Aaron
    Dec 24, 2023 at 22:45
  • 1
    Here's a link to a PDF of the score, this moment is on page 10. Dec 25, 2023 at 12:12
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    Scrolling to the end of the score posted by @ElementsInSpace, the cello and bass have a variant of the same symbol. Neither is explained in the score.
    – Aaron
    Dec 25, 2023 at 19:09
  • Thanks all! The best we could deduce is a left handed snap pizzicato. We did not find any explanation in our version of the score either. My son will be playing it for a state junior orchestra. They have extended practice sessions together in mid January and we'll find out for sure then. I'll circle back. We also found some youtube versions of the piece and a snap pizzicato seems to be what it happening. The versions we have seen seem to be using the right hand though.
    – W Yavelak
    Dec 25, 2023 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


The online Dolmetsch shows a similar symbol, minus the horizontal line, as a 'snap pizzicato," aka "Bartok pizz."
Seeing as the referenced score (PDF) has no publisher given, let alone any composer notes, I suspect poor use of some unidentified typesetting software is the cause of these nonstandard notations.

  • I found the PDF on LeDor Publishing's site: ledorgroup.com/product/conversations-in-silence Dec 29, 2023 at 3:36
  • One hint that it might not simply be a nonstandard symbol for a regular Bartók pizzicato, is that the symbol on page 10 is not that same as a very similar symbol on the last page — presumably these are supposed to be different somehow. Dec 29, 2023 at 3:36

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