odd marking in harp music of Bernard Galais

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    charles-nix on #230711

    In one of the Six Petite Pieces (Billaudot, 1995) I find the violin down bow marking. (See image)

    Does anyone have insight into what it might mean on a harp?

    My best guess from the surrounding context is an accent–but why not then use the regular accent mark ^ or sFz? Why this mark?

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    MusikFind1 on #230713


    fermata square, fermata triangle, fermata [See examples on the site]

    fermata (It.), Fermate (Ger.): a musical symbol placed over a note or rest to be extended beyond its normal duration, and occasionally printed above rests or barlines, indicating a pause of indefinite duration. The word lunga (Shortened form of the Italian lunga pausa, meaning “long pause”) is sometimes added above a fermata to indicate a longer duration. Some modern composers (including Francis Poulenc, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Luigi Nono) have expanded the symbol’s usage to indicate approximate duration, incorporating fermatas of different sizes, square- and triangle-shaped fermatas, and so on, to indicate holds of different lengths.

    This is a standard use of a ‘downbow’ sign but it would not be musical in the example given.

    charles-nix on #230732

    As you say, the square fermata makes no musical sense in this spot. Even if the first one somehow made some sense, where it occurs both treble and bass clef, in the second instance, it is only in the treble clef. And, it is hard to see in the poor photo, but there is no dot below and inside the square part.

    It occurred to me that the piece might have been originally published for violin and harp, then rearranged, and someone forgot to remove those marks. But there would never have been a need for the down bow on the bass clef.

    Any other ideas?

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #230825

    It is due to the software used to copy the music, which did not give the proper choices of symbols. It’s not a likely spot for an accent or a fermata. Unless Galais makes it clear elsewhere, I would ignore it until a musical reason becomes clear. You could also write to Galais or to the publisher for clarification. This is why uniform notation symbols are so important.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #230826

    Salzedo did use a squared fermata for a brief hold, but that doesn’t look appropriate there. I can’t think of any other reason for a symbol there.

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