Upon reading the Modern Method for the Boehm Flute, I came upon this notation:

enter image description here

What does the circle under the head of the note mean?

  • 1
    This looks too asymmetric and smudged to be a proper symbol. It's probably a bit of dirt introduced during the printing process. Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 15:38
  • To test the currently popular "smudge theory," I wonder if it's possible to find a different copy of the same book and see if it also has a "smudge." Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 17:46
  • I haven't found another one online (other than IMSLP's), so it might be up to someone at a library to find out.
    – Richard
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 17:57
  • It looks familiar. I might have an orchestration book that uses that symbol.
    – Dom
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


Take a look at page 19 of this PDF from the University of Florida:

enter image description here

It definitely seems to be an indication for a natural harmonic. I know @Richard said a harmonic was notated differently, but perhaps he was thinking of an artificial harmonic? As for the lack of centering, I can see that as a typesetting issue.

  • The low D can't possibly be a harmonic on the flute.
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 19:17

Believe it or not, I'm pretty certain this is just the worst-placed and worse-shaped piece of fuzz to ever find its way onto a scanner, because:

  1. The symbol is not actually centered with the note head.
  2. The symbol doesn't appear to actually be a circle.
  3. The symbol doesn't appear anywhere else in the book (as far as I can tell).

The nearest notation I can think of would be harmonics, but they are notated differently on a flute.

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