New International Manual
of Braille Music Notation



  • Preface
  • Compiler's Notes

  • Purpose and General Principles
  • Basic Signs
  • Clefs
  • Accidentals
  • Rhythmic Groups
  • Chords
  • Slurs and Ties
  • Tremelos
  • Fingering
  • Bar Lines and Repeats
  • Nuances
  • Ornaments
  • Theory
  • Modern Notation

  • General Organization
  • Key& Time Signatures
  • Rhythmic Groups
  • Chords
  • Slurs and Ties
  • Tremelos
  • Fingering
  • Bar Lines and Repeats
  • Nuances
  • Ornaments
  • Theory
  • Modern Notation

  • General Organization
  • Keyboard Music
  • Vocal Music
  • String Instruments
  • Wind and Percussion Instruments
  • Accordian
  • Instrumental Scores

  • Authorities for this work
  • National Signs of 16 Countries
  • Index of Signs in Standard Braille Order
  • Tables of Signs

    Other Resources
  • Contact instructor
  • Send mail to class
  • Main BRL page
  • Contractions Lookup
  • Contractions List
  • Intro Braille course
  • Transcribers course
  • Specialized Codes course

  • VI. Slurs and Ties

    (Table 5)

    A. Slurs

    6-1. In print, all slurs and ties are identical except for length and slight variations in shape. All of the braille signs listed in Table 6 have been approved internationally for use, but their use is not mandatory. Practice between countries varies widely, i.e., some countries regularly use signs to indicate whether a slur or tie is "going to" or "coming from" a different in-accord or staff; some countries use these indications only in complex music, and some countries never use a "from" sign. The examples in this Chapter are provided to demonstrate the meanings and possible use of slur and tie signs that are used according to the decisions of local nations.

    Signs from Table 6 A.

              Slur between two notes or chords
            Phrasing slur over more than four notes or chords
        Phrasing slur over more than four notes or chords
        Beginning and end of phrasing slur on one note
            Beginning and end of short slur on one note
            Slur from one in-accord part to another
            Slur from one staff to another
            Straight line between staves for voice leading
          End of straight line
          Slur added by an editor in print
            Slur that does not end on a note
            Slur for short appoggiatura; "grace note" slur in some countries
    6-2. The sign, , is used for a slur of no more than four notes. It is placed after each note of the phrase except the last.

    Example 6-2.

    6-3. When a slur extends for more than four notes, there are two possible slurs for use.

    (a) The sign is doubled after the first note of the phrase and repeated in its single form after the next to last note of the phrase as in Example 6-3 (a).

    (b) The sign is placed before the first note of the phrase and the sign is placed after the last note of the phrase as in Example 6-3 (b).

    Example 6-3.



    6-4. When there are two sets of slurs in print, the second form above is used for the longer slur.

    Example 6-4.

    6-5. When one slur ends and another begins on the same note, there are two possibilities.

    Example 6-5.


    6-6. When a slur passes from one in-accord part to another on the same staff, the slur sign preceded by dots 4-5-6 is used. In example (a), the fact that the slur will go to a different in-accord is indicated. immediately. In (b), the indication does not appear until the point of transfer. Example 6-21(a) shows the same music with the addition of "from" signs

    Example 6-6.



    6-7. When a slur passes from one staff to another, it is preceded by dot 5 as in example (a) below. The doubled form of the slur is used in (b) because there are more than four notes in the phrase to be slurred. The other form of phrasing slur is used in (c). This example includes tracker dots, used only in bar-over-bar format. Example 6-21(b) shows the addition of a "from" sign to clarify that the slur ends in measure 2.

    Example 6-7.




    6-8. Another difference in practice between countries occurs in the way slurs are written with chords. In Example 6-7(a) and (b), the slurs are placed after the written notes of the chords and before the interval signs. In Example 6-7 (c), the slurs are placed after the complete chords.

    6-9. In example 6-9, the voice moving from hand-to hand is indicated in print with a straight line, to indicate voice-leading, rather than as a slur. The sign is used for a straight voice-leading line. The sign for the end of this line is also included, although some countries limit the use of the "ending" sign to more complex situations.

    Example 6-9.

    6-10. Example 6-10 contains two editorial slurs and a standard slur in music for cello. The slurs added by the editor are printed with dotted lines, so the sign is used. That sign is also used for other editorial markings such as dynamics, pedalling, etc.

    Example 6-10.

    6-11. A slur that does not end on a note or the "slur into nowhere" is illustrated for guitar in Example 17-36 and for percussion in Example 18-16.

    6-12. A special indication that a slur is associated with a short appoggiatura is illustrated in Example 11-7. Some countries use as a "grace note slur" and other countries use the normal slur, dots 1-4, for all appoggiaturas, as in Example 11-6.

    B. Ties

    Signs from Table 6 B.

      Single-note tie

      Chord tie

    6-13. In print, a tie is notated exactly the same as a slur. With few exceptions, tie signs are used when the print ligature appears between two identical pitches. The sign for a single-note tie is placed immediately after the first of the two tied notes, or after any slur, fingering or tremolo indications connected with this note. It follows the dots in the case of dotted notes.

    6-14. When a note inflected by an accidental is tied over a bar line and is not re-marked in print, it is handled in three different ways according to national codes.

    (a) If the new measure falls on a new braille line, the accidental must be re-marked;

    (b) follow print, re-marking the accidental only if it appears in the print copy;

    (c) the second note must always be re-marked. Example 6-14 is written here according to (b), as it appears in print.

    Example 6-14.

    6-15. If only one note is tied between two chords, the single-note tie is placed immediately after the appropriate written note or interval.

    Example 6-15.

    6-16. If one or more of the notes of two identical chords are repeated while the others remain tied, the single-note tie sign must be used for each tied note or interval.

    Example 6-16.

    6-17. If two chords are tied in a succession of chords written with doubled intervals, the doubling need not be interrupted.

    Example 6-17.

    6-18. In some countries the chord tie sign may be doubled as: .

    Example 6-18.

    6-19. A repeat does not include a tie on the last note or chord of the passage. See Examples 9-25 (a) and 9-26.

    6-20. The accumulating arpeggio is written as follows:

    Example 6-20.

    C. More Slurs and Ties for Use in Section-by-section Formats

    Signs from Table 6 C.

          Slur from another in-accord part
          Slur from another staff
          Single-note tie between in-accord parts
        Single-note tie from another staff
        Single-note tie from another in-accord
         Single-note tie between staves
    6-21. The signs in part (C) of Table 6 are used more widely in music written in sections. Dots 4-6 added to a slur or tie sign clarifies that it is "coming from" another in-accord or staff. Examples 6-21(a) and (b) are from the same music as Examples 6-6 (a) and 6-7(b) respectively.

    Example 6-21


    (b) 6-22. As with a slur, dots 4-5-6 before a single-note or chord tie sign indicates that the tie is held into a different in-accord part. In example 6-22, the sign clarifies that the tie in the second in-accord part definitely pertains to the note F.

    Example 6-22.

    6-23. As with slurs, dot 5 indicates a change of staff and again, dots 4-6 indicate that a sign is coming from an in-accord or a staff. In example 6-23 an F from the left hand is tied to the same note to be held by the right hand in the next measure. The special tie sign is repeated before the F in the right hand. Because the sign occurs immediately after an in-accord sign, it is apparent that it must be "coming from" so the sign with dots 4-6 is not used.

    Example 6-23.

    6-24. In example 6-24, the sign for a closing tie falls between a note and its interval. In order to clarify that the change-of-staff tie sign is "from," dots 4-6 precede that sign in the right hand part.

    Example 6-24.

    Developed by
    Shodor logoThe Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.

    Copyright © 1999 the
    North Carolina Central University
    and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind

    Copyright © 1999 The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.