What does the + and .. sign mean on top of the notes?enter image description here


It's right-hand fingering shorthand, used more often in the 1800s and early 1900s.

. - I, .. - M, :. - A, + - P

P = Pulgar/Thumb

I = Indice/Index

M = Medio/Middle

A = Anular/Ring

E = Mignolo/4th (pinky)

  • 1
    You appear to have mixed up the Spanish and Italian names for the fingers: Spanish: Pulgar, indice, medio, anular, menique. Italian: Pollice, indice, medio, anulare, mignolo. Letters: p, i, m, a, c/e/x – reino May 13 '18 at 11:04

This is probably an obsolete notation for right-hand fingering, instead of the modern p,i,m,a,e notation.

I guess that + means pluck with the thumb, and 1-4 dots mean use the corresponding finger.

A similar (but not identical) notation was used by Mertz in a 19th-century guitar tutor, see https://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/442101/torat page 10.

  • Yes, this is right. I have quite a few German editions of classical guitar music using this notation. – Bob Broadley Apr 27 '17 at 21:38
  • Takes me back a long time, it's correct. – Tim Apr 28 '17 at 6:41

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