Playing a piece called "Romanze" by Johann Kaspar Mertz (from one of the Bardenklänge books), I noticed there is a circumflex written next to some chords:enter image description here

The excerpt is taken from page 6 (IMSLP publication). Does anyone have a clue what purpose those circumflexes have?


It meant "pluck this note with the thumb" - but I don't think this notation is still in common use.

Mertz published a Guitar tutor (here, in German: https://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/442101/torat)

The scan of page 10 is pretty low quality, but from the text of the "1ste Regel" (Rule No. 1) and the exercises that follow, even though the "^" symbol seems to be missing from the text of the "rule" itself, it seems clear enough that ".", "..", and "..." denote the first three fingers of the right hand, and "Daumen" is German for "thumb".

enter image description here

  • Not knocking, but aren't the chances that the lowest note of a chord, particularly a note played on E A or D strings, with its tail hanging down, being played using thumb, pretty good anyway? Why would the player need to be told? And - does the sign mean that particular note, or subsequent ones also? Just asking!
    – Tim
    Jan 2 '17 at 9:17
  • 1
    @Tim Herr Mertz is dead so it's hard to ask him why he mentioned what seems obvious, but the tutor seems to be aimed at absolute beginners. Most of the first 10 pages are explaining music notation, not about playing the instrument. His "Rule 2" in the image is quite explicit: "When three notes are played together, one should play the lowest note with the thumb, and the two higher notes with the first and second fingers." He goes on use the same circumflex-and-dots notation on individual notes, for "finger-picking" examples as well as chords.
    – user19146
    Jan 2 '17 at 12:14

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