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In music notation, a breath mark is a type of articulation represented by a curved apostrophe above the staff. It indicates that the user should take a breath at that point. (Obviously, this doesn't apply to stringed or keyboard music.) It is usually added in as a suggestion by the composer or editor to indicate that the musician should take a breath here rather than at a later point when the flow of the music would be more awkwardly interrupted.

It looks something like this (complete with time signature, sixteenth notes, dotted half note and whole note):


    /\                      /                             
---| /------------------------------|---------|------------
   |/                           ____|___      |             
---/----------*---*---*---*----/----|---\-----|------------
  /|    4   *|  *|  *|  *|    O.    |    O    |          
-/-|/\-----|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|---|------|---------|------------
|  |  | 4  | | | | | | | |   |      |         |            
|--|--|----|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|---|------|---------|------------
 \ |  |    |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|   |      |         |            
--\|_/------------------------------|---------|------------
   |                                                       
  \|                                                       

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