I’ve come across some sheet music that has notes (Bass Clef) with 2 dots immediately below the note, as per the image below (right in the middle of the page):

enter image description here

What does this notation mean?

  • 1
    A single dot indicates staccato. Multiple dots indicate multiple iterations, evenly spaced within the note's duration (for example, a quarter note with four dots would be played as four sixteenth notes). The latter is more common with percussion parts and I'd be surprised to see it on a bass part, so I suggest you post a picture so we can be sure.
    – John Wu
    Jan 14, 2020 at 1:23

2 Answers 2


The notes which have two dots below their heads also happen to have a half-time tremolo sign (the dash across the stem). This implies that you should play those notes as groups of two eight notes instead of one quarter, and the two dots are meant to make clear that both notes should be played staccato.

In the example below, the first measure is equivalent to the second:

enter image description here

  • Huh, I thought the two dots were just for redundancy and to ensure the tremolo would always be interpreted with the correct number of notes (the only other time I've seen the dots notation for tremolos, it was for a 4-note tremolo that could easily have been interpreted as an indeterminate-note one).
    – Dekkadeci
    Jan 15, 2020 at 11:45
  • 3
    I find it really silly that this is written with tremolo notation anyway, seeing as it's surrounded with normal explicit written out quavers. Jan 18, 2020 at 23:20

SeuMenezes is right, and below is just the first example I found, even more extreme (bass clef and e flat major signature omitted):

Even more extreme example

Contrary to my assumption this is fine (as far as those abbreviations are ever), since Elaine Gould in Behind Bars writes in chapter Single-note tremolos, Repeated articulation:

Center on the notehead the number of articulation marks appropriate for the number of repetitions.

In this case the dots help to signal the scope for the slur, but I would have preferred it as text sempre portato.

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