A fermata symbol on the piano's grand staff.
A fermata is placed above the staff, unless it affects a lower plane of action (as seen on the top staff). Image © Brandy Kraemer


A fermata is an articulation mark that allows a note or chord to be held for as long as desired. A fermata may also be considered a tempo command.
  • A fermata is written upside down below the staff if it affects a lower plane of action (see top staff in image).
  • If a fermata is written over a barline, there will be a pause between the measures.

Also Known As:

  • bird’s eye; hold
  • corona (It)
  • point d’orgue (Fr)
  • Fermate (Ger)
  • calderón (Sp)
Pronunciation: fer-mah'-duh (U.S.), fer-mah'-tah

More Musical Symbols: