In this example, the accents are above the notes:


What if you were accenting middle C? Would the accent go above the stem?

1 Answer 1


Horizontal accent marks, that look like '>', go close to the note head in single voice music (c.f. page 9-10 of this style guide). In multi-voiced music, the accents for the upper voice(s) are above the music, and thus are "on top of the stems", and the accents for the lower voice(s) are below.

The convention to keep '^' style accents above the notes, whether stem up or stem down, as indicated here, makes sense to me, but I don't have what I consider to be an authoritative reference on it (It's just that I've never seen it, and when I imagine it, it would look weird to me.)

  • 1
    The current "authoritative reference" is generally agreed to be amazon.co.uk/d/cka/… - but for placing accents there is more than one "standard." For example orchestra parts used in theater productions have different conventions from "classical" music. The most comprehensive music notation program I know of has a total of twelve different options for placing articulations relative to the staff, the notes in the score, slurs, and ties - i.e. there are 4096 possible sets of "default rules" for positioning them!!
    – user19146
    Apr 1, 2017 at 21:53

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