There is the accent symbol > to mark loud note (relatively neighboring), but how should I mark soft note?

(It's sems logically to mark it with <, but I never seen this in real sheets.)


1 Answer 1


What you are looking for is anti-accents, also called ghost notes:


(Image taken from the wikipedia.org page on "accents".)

The left one is slightly softer than other notes, the one on the right is much softer, and the one in the middle is, well, right in the middle.

Ghost notes are often notated with an x instead of a circle for the notehead.

  • 2
    Grace notes aren't really soft notes though in the sense that they don't mark an already existing note. Grace notes are an addon to notes that are already there Nov 4, 2014 at 9:16
  • That's one disadvantage of the x-notation. For eighths and shorter notes, you can simply use the regular "flags". For longer notes, there is no distinction. Per my experience, an x note without flags is usually considered as a quarter note. This could be because these notes are usually not longer than that, but I'm not really sure.
    – Lee White
    Nov 4, 2014 at 9:17
  • Several sources suggest a "ghost note" has rhythm but almost no discernable pitch. It's not clear that's what the OP is after, but he didn't mention what genre of music he's dealing with. Certainly in my experience with "classical" music, I can't recall a note marked to be played well below the current dynamics in any way other than "subito piano" written out Nov 4, 2014 at 13:06
  • BTW, Lee: that looks like the Wikimedia image -- if so, you should give proper attribution :-) Nov 4, 2014 at 13:08
  • @LeeWhite there is a way to indicate durations using "x" noteheads. See this image as an example (generated using Lilypond).
    – SeuMenezes
    Nov 4, 2014 at 13:25