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


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.

  • Interesting - wonder why Liszt considered this different from just putting an accent on both notes? Oct 28, 2019 at 14:17
  • 1
    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
  • 1
    @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

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.

  • Also, Essential Elements 2000 for strings, page 32, uses a similar mark. Oct 28, 2019 at 19:16

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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