I'm working on a project to set Bach's music on lilypond files (so that people can share and enhance to better match manuscripts). I just uploaded BWV 1004 to the repo but I'm wondering what's the meaning of a dot that I see written on the manuscripts I have at hand on the bar before last of Ciaccona? It's written on top of the first G that opens the bar. Is it staccato?

In case you are wondering here's the project: https://github.com/eantoranz/bwv


3 Answers 3


I assume you are speaking of that mark:

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It is not a dot (well, it is, but it does not represent a staccato dot), it's a note, the F from the previous bar that continues on the first beat of the next to last bar.

There are two voices at this point, the lower one creating a harmonic movement with C# (the first note of the two beats ornament in the third to last bar), D, G, A, while the upper goes from F, to E, resolving on a D on the last bar.

The exact term of the F continuing in the next bar in english I'm not exactly sure of, but it literally translates to "delay", as F is not part of the chord on the first beat of the next to last bar, but resolves on E on the second beat.

  • What would be the "standard" word used for it (even it not in english)?
    – eftshift0
    Mar 6, 2018 at 16:03
  • In french, we call it a "retard harmonique" (literally "harmonic delay"). Mar 6, 2018 at 16:05
  • Does F have to be struck again? That looks like just a suspension note. Mar 21, 2019 at 16:22
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    @Aminopterin Oh late answer, I thought I had commented back already. No, the F should not be strocked again! It continues until the note changes to E. Apr 3, 2019 at 19:35
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    Then I think it is a suspension note! Apr 6, 2019 at 7:06

It's the augmentation dot of the quarter note f in the previous bar, turning it into a three-eighth's note. Since it makes the note hang over the bar line, Bach writes it after the bar line, a quizzical way of pulling a dotted rhythm across the line.


Uh, why don't you check with The Mutopia Project of free LilyPond scores? It has all of the Bach partitas and sonatas, including BWV1004, BWV1013, and BWV1030, the scores in your repository.

Proofreading and upgrading to a newer LilyPond version (should be mostly a matter of running convert-ly and checking the result for obvious uglinesses) is likely appreciated, but at least the basic grunt work appears to be done.

  • 3
    Thanks for the feedback, I'll surely take a look at the project. That doesn't answer my question, though :-)
    – eftshift0
    Mar 3, 2018 at 19:09

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