Example of what I mean

Anyone got any idea what these single brackets on notes mean in this guitar music?

  • You mean the thing that looks like parentheses? – Shevliaskovic May 10 '16 at 23:02
  • It's probably a typo. Unless there's a companion earlier on that is not shown in the snippet. – Todd Wilcox May 10 '16 at 23:54
  • I have about ten or so pieces all with similar types of marking in them. They're all anonymous composers from some sheet music that I picked up from Freecycle a while ago. I sight read lots of pieces and have recently started wondering what it is that I'm missing by these markings. – MarkyMMM May 12 '16 at 0:21

I've just gone through a number of baroque books and looked at buying the Neumann book mentioned above (Not going to happen at that price though). I finally found the answer though at http://baroqueguitar.homestead.com/The_Baroque_Guitar.htm which states that the bracket means a mordent. I hope this is helpful to anyone else who has been puzzled by this.

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  • Well, that's more or less consistent with what a keyboard player like me would have done with it - but the first one might have been a trill with a written-out turn, depending on the tempo. I wonder why guitar ornaments were written after the note rather than above or before it like most other instruments. But music notation has never been logical! – user19146 May 12 '16 at 2:53
  • See also music.stackexchange.com/a/30812/2639 -- there are ) like ornaments indicated in this answer. – Dave May 13 '16 at 14:10
  • Would this symbol apply to specific guitar technique to execute the mordent (e.g. some kind of pull-off/hammer-on combination)? Is the normal mordent symbol used in current day classical guitar scores with the same meaning? – José David May 13 '16 at 17:49
  • It seems it is to do with guitar music (well lute etc... as well). If Alephzero hadn't mentioned baroque it wouldn't even have occurred to me to check it out. Yes, the normal mordent symbol is used in modern day classical guitar music. In response to Alephzero's wondering about the ornament being written after the note, in the massive amount of reading I've done the last few days trying to figure this out, there were different symbols placed in different places around the note meaning different things. Not that I particularly remember much about them. – MarkyMMM May 14 '16 at 9:43

It could be some type of ornament from the baroque or renaissance period. It would help to identify the piece, the composer, and the edition of the music the example came from. The sign is certainly included in the recent comprehensive standard for music fonts - see glpyh U+E572 here: https://w3c.github.io/smufl/gitbook/tables/other-baroque-ornaments.html

A comprehensive reference (which I don't have access to right now) is

Neumann, Frederick. Ornamentation in Baroque and Post-Baroque Music. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978.

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  • Thanks alephzero. I shall check that out if I can find a copy. I read Hugo Cole's book Sounds and Signs : Aspects of Musical Notation this afternoon but still I'm no clearer on the matter – MarkyMMM May 12 '16 at 0:24

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