I know there is a quarter tone notation, but is there a symbol for music score that will simply say over/under pitch? I think quarter tone notation might be too strict/rigid in music arrangement that is not quarter tone at all, just some solo parts requires this specific intonation.

I'm transcribing the vocal part of the song. She sings some notes deliberately over/under pitch, and I have no idea how to smuggle this subtlety into violin part. Should I care about such subtle things at all? Or leave it "dry" and rather rely on the performer's interpretation?

  • If I couldn't find anyone who has done it before, I would invent a symbol for slightly sharp and another for slightly flat and put a key at the top of the score. Jul 21, 2015 at 10:20
  • 1
    Yeah, Bartók used up- and down-arrows in his Violin Concerto no. 2, which is somewhat related to this proposal, and about the right level of detail for your notation problem.
    – user16935
    Jul 21, 2015 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


There is a notation form I have come across called Sagittal notation. It seems pretty comprehensive for microtonic notation.

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The Sagittal notation system is a comprehensive system for notating musical pitch in all possible scales and tunings - a universal set of microtonal accidentals, equally suited to extended just intonation, equal divisions of the octave (or of any other interval), or any of the non-just non-equal "middle path" tunings or temperaments. It is called Sagittal because, you guessed it, it uses various arrow-like symbols, pointing up or down to indicate raising or lowering of pitch.

It is described in detail here:


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