Musical Symbols

This page lists all the various symbols in the Musical Symbols category.

Modern musical symbols are the marks and symbols that are widely used in western musical scores, styles, and instruments today. This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to the various symbols encountered in modern musical notation. These symbols are used in modern pieces of Western music to describe a composition in its fundamentals – pitch, rhythm, tempo – and, to some degree, its articulation.

Symbols in this category:

Accolade, brace

Connects two or more lines of music that are played simultaneously. Depending on the instruments playing, the brace, or accolade, will vary in designs and styles.

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Alto clef

When the C-clef is placed on the third line of the stave, it is called the alto clef. As with all C-clefs, this line indicates the position of middle C.

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Bar or Measure (music)

Used to separate measures. Bar lines are extended to connect the upper and lower staffs of a grand staff.

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bariton clef

Because it is equivalent to the F-clef on the third line, the C-clef on the fifth line version of the baritone clef is a rarity.

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Baritone clef

When the F-clef is placed on the third line, it is called the baritone clef.

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Bass clef

When the F-clef is placed on the fourth line, it is called the bass clef. This is the only F-clef used today, so that the terms "F-clef" and "bass clef" are often regarded as synonymous.

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Bold double bar line (or barline)

Used to indicate the conclusion of a movement or an entire composition.

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Bowl of Hygieia

Bowl of Hygieia is one of the symbols of pharmacy

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Breath Mark

In a score, this symbol tells the performer or singer to take a breath (or make a slight pause for non-wind instruments).

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C clef

This clef points to the line (or space, rarely) representing middle C, or approximately 262 Hz

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Caesura

Indicates a brief, silent pause, during which time is not counted. In ensemble playing, time resumes when conductor or leader indicates.

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Dotted bar line (or barline)

Subdivides long measures of complex meter into shorter segments for ease of reading, usually according to natural rhythmic subdivisions.

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Double bar line (or barline)

Used to separate two sections of music. Also used at changes in key signature, time signature or major changes in style or tempo.

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Double whoe rest of breve rest

The double whole rest (or breve rest), which usually denotes a silence for the same duration. Double whole rests are drawn as filled-in rectangles occupying the whole vertical space between the second and third lines from the top of the musical staff. They are often used in long silent passages which are not divided into separate bars to indicate a rest of two bars. This and longer rests are collectively known as multiple rests.

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Double whole note or breve

In music, a double whole note (American) or breve (international) is a note lasting twice as long as a whole note (or semibreve).

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Engage pedal

These pedal marks appear in music for instruments with sustain pedals, such as the piano, vibraphone and chimes.

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F clef

The line or space between the dots in this clef denotes F below middle C, or approximately 175 Hz.

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French Violin Clef

When the G-clef is placed on the first line of the stave, it is called the French clef or French violin clef.

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G clef

The centre of the spiral defines the line or space upon which it rests as the pitch G above middle C, or approximately 392 Hz.

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Grand Staff

When music on two staves is joined by a brace, or is intended to be played at once by a single performer (usually a keyboard instrument or the harp), a great stave (BrE) or grand staff (AmE) is created.

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Ledger or Leger Lines

Used to extend the staff to pitches that fall above or below it.

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Lyre

A stylized image of a lyre, a stringed musical instrument strongly associated with several characters and stories in Greek mythology.

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Mezzo-soprano clef

When the C-clef is placed on the second line of the stave, it is called the mezzo-soprano clef.

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Neutral clef

The neutral or percussion clef is not a clef in the same sense that the F, C, and G clefs are. It is simply a convention that indicates that the lines and spaces of the stave are each assigned to a percussion instrument with no precise pitch.

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Octave clef

Treble and bass clefs can also be modified by octave numbers.

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Release pedal

These pedal marks appear in music for instruments with sustain pedals, such as the piano, vibraphone and chimes.

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Soprano clef

When the C-clef occurs on the first line of the stave, it is called the soprano clef.

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Staff

The staff is the fundamental latticework of music notation, upon which symbols are placed.

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Sub-bass clef

When the F-clef is placed on the fifth line, it is called the sub-bass clef. It is identical to the treble clef transposed down 2 octaves.

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Tablature

For guitars and other fretted instruments, it is possible to notate tablature in place of ordinary notes. In this case, a TAB-sign is often written instead of a clef.

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Tenor clef

When the C-clef is placed on the fourth line of the stave, it is called the tenor clef.

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Treble Clef

When the G-clef is placed on the second line of the stave, it is called the treble clef. This is the most common clef used today, and the only G-clef still in use. For this reason, the terms G-clef and treble clef are often seen as synonymous. The treble clef was historically used to mark a treble, or per-pubescent, voice part.

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Whole Note or Semibreve

In music, a whole note (American) or semibreve (British) is a note represented by a hollow oval note head, like a half note (or minim), and no note stem. Its length is equal to four beats in 4/4 time.

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Whole Rest of Semibreve Rest

In music, the whole rest (or semibreve rest), usually denotes a silence for four beats in 4/4 time.

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Citation

Use the citation below to add this symbols category to your bibliography:

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"Musical Symbols." Symbols.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.symbols.com/category/18>.

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