I came across this symbol (unfortunately not in context—I was looking through some engraving font glyphs) that looks like a sharp with a 4 above it:

Musical Sharp Symbol with 4 above it attached to the left vertical line

What is this symbol called and what does it mean? If it's not a standalone symbol and instead is something composited, what context would it be used in?


According to the list of musical symbols at Dolmetsch Online, that is a quarter-tone sharp sign; it signifies that a pitch should be raised by a quarter-tone. There is an analogous quarter-tone flat symbol.

  • 2
    Indeed! Wikipedia's list only had the sharp with a single line: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musical_symbols#Quarter_tones Thanks! – Bailey Parker Jul 29 '19 at 13:25
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    I've tried playing it on piano, but it's not easy playing in the cracks! – Tim Jul 29 '19 at 13:45
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    @Tim you have to pull on the strings with your free hand :-) – Carl Witthoft Jul 29 '19 at 15:12
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    @Tim Amateur singers are experts at producing these notes, though... ;-) – cmaster - reinstate monica Jul 29 '19 at 21:50
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    And a really bad one, I might add. If you play quarter-tone music of any length, such a large, busy symbol for a single alteration makes the score really hard to read. Luckily there are other quarter-tone symbols available. – Kilian Foth Jul 30 '19 at 6:03

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