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I have never seen this kind of notation on a piano score before? Does anyone know what they are?

  • 1
    These are non-standard noteheads for piano, so there should be a key at the beginning of the music explaining what each type of notehead means. Where did you get this music from? Is it published or free? The poor spacing of notes, staves and other notation suggests this is not published music. May 17 '20 at 1:04
  • @BobBroadley Thanks for your reply. I have just added another photo to my post. This is a photo sent from my friend. I am not sure where did he get it from too.
    – Leroy
    May 17 '20 at 1:12
  • 4
    Ask where the sheet music was printed from. It looks like the music program this was written in was using a percussion notation (or similar) for the bass cleff. Here you can see the sheet music for piano as it should: musescore.com/user/102470/scores/171373
    – hirschme
    May 17 '20 at 2:03
  • 1
    Googling brought up many versions, all with standard dots! Mostly with 5#, but one with 6 bs! It could be special Japanese or Chinese music signs, but seeing standard music for the same piece, there's no opportunity to translate.
    – Tim
    May 17 '20 at 7:51

I agree with hirschme's comment. Specifically, I think the bass clef is perhaps using some sort of default percussion noteheads for specific staff locations. Note that X noteheads appear at G2, D3, E3, B3, D4, and E4. Forward arrow noteheads appear only at G3, while the weird slanted diamond noteheads appear on F3. A3, C4, and notes above E4 all appear as normal noteheads.

Given the consistency of the non-standard noteheads appearing in specific staff locations, I can only assume this is either some percussion noteheads set to correspond to specific staff locations, or else the typesetter has accidentally turned on some other setting (kind of like shape-note noteheads that some music software can do, except that isn't it here, as these are not consistent with the way shape-note notation works).

In sum, unless you can find some sort of rationale or "key" for these noteheads, my guess is that the typesetter made some sort of mistake in settings and accidentally altered the notehead appearance for certain staff positions in the left hand.

  • Thanks for your reply. I guess you are right. In general, it is unusual to see these noteheads on a piano score right?
    – Leroy
    May 17 '20 at 3:43
  • @Leroy: Yes, they're not standard piano noteheads. Alternative noteheads are sometimes used by some composers or typesetters, but for piano music they'd usually need some sort of key/explanation. The fact that all other scores for this piece that people are finding don't use these strange noteheads makes it more likely this is just some typesetting problem.
    – Athanasius
    May 18 '20 at 22:25

I've just searched out performances of this piece, and other sheet music versions. I think I can safely say they are misprints, doubtless caused by a font issue in the notation program that printed it. No need to look for any more complicated reason.

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