Funny little music symbol?

I’ve no idea what the funny little symbol is after the time signature, is it an Alto Clef or something??

That’s precisely what it is.

Thanks Leo.

Yes, that’s an alto clef. Maybe it was used here to avoid ledger lines in a low passage. On the other hand, there are no lyrics, and the deep notes are very unlikely in a historic soprano part. It may actually be a cue.

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Yes, I think you’re right - here it is showing the Soprano part with the Alto Clef saying Altos, then again in the Soprano part just before 95. I guess it made the engraving easier(?)

My guess is it is a Viola cue.


that’s exactly what it is, an orchestral cue indicating the entry of the sopranos in the chorus.
(Duruflé Requiem)

Excellent, thank you.

It occurs to me that most sopranos today won’t know how to read that cue. The director will have to tell them that it means the Violas are giving them their note, and they’ll write it in.…

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it’s actually a pretty easy note to get, in the context of the passage and the harmony.

And to violists and trombonists it’s not funny, just part of the toolbox.

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I think the OP is referring to the style of the alto clef, which is unfamiliar to that person. It’s interesting that the engraver had the choice between using a non-native alto clef, something Gould opposes, or ledger lines-- and selects the former.

“funny” in the sense of odd, or unfamiliar. Not in the sense of being amused. An English (ie UK) colloquial expression. eg “A funny thing happened to me on the way to work today…” meaning something strange or odd.

No offence to violists or trombonists intended, whom I’m sure are not in the slightest bit odd. :sunglasses:

To add to the information: it’s not just the mysterious viola or alto clef, it’s also called C-Clef. And it indicates the c - meaning it’s the easiest of all clefs. Just think of the “middle c” on the piano.

“Funny” also has that sense in American English, which is the way I and probably notesetter took it.

Any time you run into those odd tenor/alto cleffs for like viola & cello, whatever those two lines on right side of the cleff is C (concert). Once you start composing for, or conducting live orchestral ensembles or choirs you will begin to see a transposed score and hear it all, if you push, on those 10,000 hours dues. Its amazing feeling once it starts clicking! Best wishes

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Hey maybe its a Soprano Sax section!! O,o lol

The extra lines are an evolution of the serifs of a C which was the actual symbol for the C clefs at their inception c. 1000 C.E.

This is what happens when you give font designers free reign for a thousand years. :rofl: