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It looks like a regular slur, but at an obtuse angle. This example is from Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No. 1, where it connects an F natural to an E. I have only seen this a couple of times, so I'm just kind of curious what it's supposed to mean.V-shaped slur

3 Answers 3

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It's an accent that applies to both notes. In the Peters edition (2007, ed. Leslie Howard), bars 748 and 752, a footnote makes this explicit:

Liszt's special accent requires a stress on all the notes under the symbol.

In recordings you can often hear the accent implemented as an (extremely) momentary ritardando, as well as the usual increase in loudness.

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  • Interesting - wonder why Liszt considered this different from just putting an accent on both notes? Oct 28, 2019 at 14:17
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    At that whirlwind speed, those two notes are felt as a single event. An articulation mark on each individual note risks damaging the built-up momentum. Oct 28, 2019 at 20:55
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    @CarlWitthoft Apart from the artistic reason Camille gave (which I think is plausible too) Liszt required himself to write a set number of pages a day so he employed a number of shorthands.
    – 11684
    Oct 31, 2019 at 9:28
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Although not applicable to the piano piece in the question (the use of which is in the accepted answer), but to clarify for people that may see a similar mark used in student pieces, who may otherwise be confused:

In some instructional method books and corresponding pieces, the mark is used to indicate a half step in a new scale or fingering position. Sometimes it is added as a "courtesy mark", as a reminder of the half step, or for clarity.

Here is an example of use from the "Muller Rusch Violin Method" violin book indicating a half step between E and F natural:

violin sheet music

Here is another example from "A Tune A Day" violin book indicating that the finger position for C# and G notes are a half step apart from each other:

enter image description here

Rubanks Elementary Method uses what looks like a Piano pedal bracket to indicate the half step instead.

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  • Also, Essential Elements 2000 for strings, page 32, uses a similar mark. Oct 28, 2019 at 19:16
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It's a bend. It indicates that the upper F♮ should bend to the E. Putting an accent on multiple consecutive notes are indicated by the > on all notes. Liszt was confused on what it should mean.

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