I am trying to learn a piece of piano music and have found some strange notation in it.

Two vertical brackets spanning the two piano staves, each to the right of a multi-stave chord.

The two vertical brackets appear to apply only to that particular chord. I have not found this notation elsewhere in the piece nor have I encountered it before. The problematic notation is highlighted below:

Freehand circles!

What is this notation called? What does it mean?

  • 1
    It means "play all the bracketed notes with the same hand" - probably the left hand. (I assume you made this drawing yourself and left out the other notes in the score).
    – user19146
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 20:06
  • @alephzero Actually, I didn't. This is from the original and afaik so far only copy of the piece. I am transcribing it in order to be able to read it in real-time. Please post that as an answer.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


It means the bracketed notes are to be considered a single musical unit. The composer is suggesting you play them all with the same hand. This is probably a good idea, but in the absence of any further, higher notes, it's only a suggestion. The composer gets to tell you what notes to play. He doesn't get to insist on HOW you achieve it!

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