In the book "The Beatles Complete Scores", there are many instances that instead of the normal crotchet rest: modern crotchet rest symbol - a vertical zigzag and hook, the author uses this kind of rest: alternative crotchet rests symbol - a horizontal zigzag

One example is on page 1000, in the song "When I'm Sixty Four":

"When I'm Sixty-Four" transcription excerpt showing may examples of the alternative crotchet rest symbols

By listening to the song,

you can understand that it is a crotchet rest, but why use this symbol? Is this some other symbol people used back in the day?

  • 1
    It just looks like the quarter rest fell over. I use a similar one as shorthand that's just turned 45 degrees counter clock wise.
    – Dom
    Feb 6, 2016 at 13:45
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    Is this something generally used? Feb 6, 2016 at 14:05
  • Possible duplicate of Origin of the 'squigly line' used for quarter note rest? Feb 6, 2016 at 14:47
  • @Shevliaskovic, it seems to be a somewhat common hand-written form that precedes the printed "squiggly line", and evolved from mensural notation, although every composer draws it a little differently. For some historical screenshots of manuscripts and more information (mixed with lots of speculation), check out: music.stackexchange.com/questions/23714/… Feb 6, 2016 at 14:52
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    As Caleb says, the crotchet rest used to be the mirror image of a quaver rest (much easier to write!), Its placing on the staff doesn't seem very important, too.
    – Tim
    Feb 6, 2016 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


The Beatles Complete Scores was originally produced and edited in Japan in 1989. The transcriptions are attributed to 4 Japanase guy's, but there is almost no information about the typesetting process, which has some additional specificities. The book has a kind of preface that mentions some specific symbols used for different instruments and vocals, but nothing more.

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So I think we can safely assume that the used crotchet rest symbol must have been considered a normal music notation symbol.

The score typesetting process was surely manual and most symbols, including lyrics, were handwritten, as can be seen by it's irregularity. The crotchet symbol definitely was handwritten, as the same symbol is used throughout the book (I haven't checked each of the ~1100 individual pages, but so far haven't found one single case where it isn't) and we can see significant handwriting variance.

Considering the mamoth work involved and that the crotchet rest is one of the most difficult and morose to draw properly (and the more classical alternative, the "mirrored" quaver rest, is easily mistaken by a quaver rest), there is an obvious advantage in using a simpler symbol, if the authors were on the habit of using one.

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