0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

phrase marks


Phrase marks look the same as ties and slurs (a curved line in the notation). However, they must be interpreted differently depending on the context. A phrase mark is used to express a complete musical thought; a tie is used to connect adjacent pitches together to produce a longer note; while a slur is used to connect a group of different pitches together to produce a smoother musical line, While all three phrase marks (phrase, slur, and tie) look the same, they each have separate meanings.

In the example below, measures 166 through 169 use a phrase mark to indicate that these four notes should be performed as a unified musical thought. The last two beats of measure 169 (half note E) is tied to the half note in measure 170 to extend the note to four beats. Measures 170 and 171 indicate slurs to make these short passages smooth groupings of notes without hard attacks for each note.

Phrase Marks
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony No. 41 in C major, K.551
Movement IV – Molto Allegro (mm. 166 – mm. 17

See Also

[English] legatura di fraseggio (f)
[French] signe de liaison du phrasé (m)
[German] Phrasierungsbogen (m)


Last Updated: 2016-06-06 17:19:31