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The fermata ( Italian fermare ' to stop' ) is a rest sign in music in the form of a downwardly open parabola with a point in the middle above a note or pause , which is also used as a pause sign, indicates pause in movement or signals to the soloist, to decorate this place according to his individual needs. Earlier names of the sign were "Point d'Orgue" and Corona or Coronata .


The original note value is extended up to twice the value (in the actual extension the performer is not bound). Some composers specify their wishes by noting breve (= short) or lunga (= long) above the fermata symbol. In modern scores, the fermata symbol can also be found in an angular form (overturned box with a dot), a long fermata is represented here by several symbols positioned one above the other. In the classical / romantic epoch the fermata is often used to stretch the measure in order to avoid a change of measure . Examples of famous pauses are the beginning of the Fifth Symphony of Beethoven or the Overture to the Magic Flute by Mozart .

In addition, the fermata in orchestral notes of solo concerts also indicates the beginning of the cadenza , during which the other voices are silent. As early as the 15th century, it indicated at the end of a canon that a tone should be held until all voices have reached their end. Fermatas also structure chorale movements by accompanying the closing notes of the individual sections. Often they are found in older literature on the final stroke of a sentence.

A general pause is also marked by the fermata if this general pause is not to be performed strictly in tempo (slow movements in Haydn's ). GP is then often noted above the fermata (many examples from Anton Bruckner ).


From shorter to longer:

Fermata round.png

Fermata round.png

Fermata round.png

Representation in Unicode

The Unicode encodings for the fermata can be found in the Unicode block of musical notation .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Fermata  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Johann Gottfried Walther : Musical Lexicon [...]. Wolffgang Deer, Leipzig 1732, pp. 186 and 486