A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Fermata
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FERMATA is the Italian name for the sign
, which in English is commonly called a Pause, and signifies that the note over which it is placed should be held on beyond its natural duration. It is sometimes put over a bar or double bar, in which case it intimates a short interval of silence.
Schumann, in the first movement of his 'Faschingsschwank in Wien' for the pianoforte, has the sign over the double bar in this manner, where the key changes from two flats to six sharps, and has also written 'Kurze Pause.'
[ C. H. H. P. ]