I recently encountered a symbol in a Violoncello score which I was not able to identify. It is shown in the image below after the p (piano).

I looked for it in the Musescore documentation and in the Lilypond notation tables, but was unable to find it.

What is the meaning of this symbol?

Unknown symbol

  • 2
    You may also add Dolmetsch page to your references but I could not find it there either. (Could it be a turned mute symbol?) – guidot Jan 16 '19 at 13:41
  • @Aaron don't want to start edit wars, but it's not "inverted" V, it's a regular one ;) Thanks for editing the title, I was thinking of doing the same, but couldn't find right words. – user1079505 Mar 19 at 0:19
  • @user1079505 No, you're absolutely right. Just a stupid mistake on my part. – Aaron Mar 19 at 0:19
  • 1
    @user1079505 the question is not about the upbow symbol above the note but about the frog symbol below it. – phoog Mar 19 at 1:15
  • @user1079505 Guess we both blew it. :-) – Aaron Mar 19 at 1:16

As someone else has already said, this symbol indicates that the player should play at the heel or frog of the bow.

enter image description here enter image description here

These images are from an edition of Bach's 6 Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin (BWV 1001-1006) and exactly match the symbol in your score.

  • That would make perfekt sense. The publisher of the scorebook n which I saw the cello piece was "Editio Music Budapest" (EMB). The language to the upper left in the image seems to be Hungarian, so maybe it even the same publisher? (EMB has the six sonatas in German, at least: kotta.info/en/product/8748/…) – Fabian Jan 21 '19 at 13:34

The symbol might resemble the frog/heel/nut of the bow, indicating to the player that the bow is placed on the string very near the frog of the bow. The player might up-bow from very near the frog to the frog itself. Some terms for this are Frosch(Ger.), au talon(Fr.), and hausse(Fr.). Here is another example of nouveaux bow placement markings for frog and tip:

frog and tip notation



I suspect this is simply a font error. Information on the source would enable a more informed opinion. Is it a modern edition that we could assume to have been computer-produced?

  • 1
    I'm not exactly convinced. The given graphics looks like an old print to me, I can't remember having seen an unknown font character represented different from a hollow rectangle, none of the unicode music symbols would fit here and finally: what besides sfz or a closig hairpin could legally be placed there? – guidot Jan 16 '19 at 16:10
  • Yes, some publication info about the edition would be helpful. – Michael Curtis Jan 16 '19 at 16:37
  • It was a printed copy of an older edition of this book: paganino.com/sheet-music/jugend-musiziert/cello/piano-s-z/…. Incidentically, this webpage has the according page from a newer edition as a example picture: paganino.com/out/pictures/master/product/3/… In the old edition, the symbol was at the end of the first line, right below the name TEGNAR. The newer edition no longer has that symbol, it seems. – Fabian Jan 16 '19 at 17:05
  • 3
    This should be a comment. – phoog Jan 17 '19 at 8:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.