I have come across notation I don't recognise in a vocal score, and no amount of Googling can find it (and it's not in my notation software either).

enter image description here

The notation in question is the sloping line over the middle note. Now I know the meaning of it purely because I am intimate with the actual piece of music, so that's not a problem (it is being used to represent "an upwards slide into the note" from some unspecified leading note). I am wondering if this is a standard notation or just something the composer (or arranger, or transcriber or whoever) made up and, if it is a standard, what it is called.

So in this case it would, instead of being B B G, it would be B, something below B (say A) sliding up into B, then G.

  • 1
    Straight lines are sometimes used instead of a wavy one for glissando, but rarely without the lower note being specified and I've never see it over top of the note. I'd lean towards this being made up to be a quick glissando that's easier to write out.
    – user28
    Jul 21, 2015 at 15:27
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    @MatthewRead There is a kind of glissando articulation called a scoop. I am leaning towards it being that but placed over the note instead of beside the note for some reason. I have added that detail to my question.
    – Majenko
    Jul 21, 2015 at 15:37
  • Hmm, that scoop marking is sometimes used for a doit or lip bend/slur too.
    – user28
    Jul 21, 2015 at 16:34
  • Before I scrolled down I thought of a scoop, written as revealed. Makes more sense to put it before the note, and it can be guessed at too. I think there's a mark similar used in guitar tab.
    – Tim
    Jul 21, 2015 at 16:47
  • @MatthewRead A doit would come after the note not before it. I also found a reference that says that scoops and similar haven't got a standard notation yet, so a certain amount of poetic license could be allowed.
    – Majenko
    Jul 21, 2015 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


It turns out that the closest approximation to this articulation is a scoop. Many thanks to @MatthewRead for pointing me to the glissando family where I found the scoop (and also the plop, doit and fall) articulation.

While this is not the normal way of depicting a scoop some poetic license could be allowed, since:

The notation for scoops and fall-offs has not been standardized, but either one will look something like a portamento or slur with a note on one end only.

-- Catherine Schmidt-Jones / cnx.org

MuseScore depicts a scoop as this:

enter image description here

Pictorially that is much more obvious than a little line over the note, though if used extensively it would cause more score clutter than an over-note articulation.

Many people and systems draw the scoop somewhat smaller and more associated with the head of the note rather than the tail of the note as in the second and third notes in this example:

                             enter image description here

Again this is much more pictorially obvious but with the added benefit of not causing as much score clutter.

Incidentally, for the curious, the four terms I used at the top could be defined as:

  • Scoop: Rising up to the depicted note
  • Plop: Dropping down to the depicted note (love the name of that one)
  • Fall: Dropping off from the depicted note
  • Doit: Rising up from the depicted note (say "do it" out loud and you get the idea).

This would be more commonly notated by a line, curved or straight, leading TO the note head. And that would obviously make more sense! I suspect this is no more than inexpert use of a notation program.

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