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In this music for the violin, the strange sign on top of both E-flat on measure 74 confused me, as I have no idea what it is, and it is not exclusive to just E-flats, as it is also present in an F and a B previously in the sheet-music.

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The Piece is Arlington Sketches. What can it mean?

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  • 1
    If it's in some kind of tutorial, is it simply pointing out the rule about accidentals? The rule that says even though the low E has a flat sign, the high E ALSO needs one? Jan 8 '20 at 4:18
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    What piece is this from? As it has “Violin I” as a header, I’m guessing it’s not from a tutor book...? Jan 8 '20 at 8:02
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    Please post the F'n'B part - if they're # or b then Neil's answer works.
    – Tim
    Jan 8 '20 at 11:11
  • No, it was not from a book. It was an orchestral piece, and I added the F and B parts, is you would need it. Jan 8 '20 at 21:24
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The arrows could refer to the finger positions. The first E-flat is low 1st finger. The second one low 4th. If the F you mention is on the E-string it is low 1st, if it is on the D-string it is low 2nd. And so forth.

It is common in violin sheet music to indicate low finger positions with down arrows, especially in music with pedagogical intention.

EDIT: Now that the OP has posted another screenshot it is even more clear that it is in fact low fingering that is the matter as I described above. All those notes which have a down arrow are low finger positions on the violin.

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Beginners of violin playing are used to learn first little melodies in major on the E, A and D string: the motifs like DoReMiDo will be (analog to Guitar frets) 0,2,4,0.

The arrows above F, Bb and Eb are assigning that the finger position is now lower compared by F#, B and E.

So I agree with Lars Peter Schultz, additionally trying to show the pedagogical intention as reminder of the natural F and the flattened B and E.

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The down- or up-arrow is often pencilled in by performers to indicate intonation (as in, "this note should be played lower [higher] in pitch than feels natural"). I've never seen it actually used in printed music, but that would be consistent with the context of those four notes in the example.

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It is probably a reminder of the notation rule that a flat at the same pitch lasts for the whole measure, but any other octaves of the same note have the pitch indicated with their own accidentals.

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  • It can not be that, because the note F is also mentioned and that one has no accidental. Anyway check out my answer. Jan 8 '20 at 11:53
  • @LarsPeterSchultz - OP says the F and B are previous - not on that screenshot. The question is about arrows. There are no arrows over any other notes there!
    – Tim
    Jan 8 '20 at 12:07
  • @Tim yes the question is about arrows and OP indicates that there are arrows above F and B previous (not on the screenshot). I actually wonder whether he means B-flat, because that would make sense regarding the arrows. F and B-flat requires a low finger position but not B natural. Jan 8 '20 at 12:34
  • Now that the OP has posted another screenshot it is clear that he meant B-flat and not B. Jan 9 '20 at 20:54
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I suggest it's telling you which string to use. In the passage that starts D up to A, you'd play those on the open D and A strings.

For the following descending G F E you could then switch back to the D string - but you'd quickly need to change down to the G string to play the C.

So in the first passage the down arrow means that instead of the D string, use the G string for the next few notes. You can then play the descending passage G F E C without needing to change string part way through.

In general, the down arrow means "skip a string" to play the next note.

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  • That would be so far from normal notations in violin sheet music that it would require a forword explaining the matter. And if such a forword existed the OP would not need to ask the question. Jan 9 '20 at 20:54

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