"Fermata" is a musical symbol used to instruct performers to hold a note or rest longer than its normal duration. Its appearance typically resembles an inverted "U" or a half-circle symbol, placed above a note or rest.
The purpose of a fermata is to enhance the expressiveness of the music, allowing performers to flexibly control the duration in order to create dramatic or emotionally rich effects. This symbol indicates to the performer that they should pause at the note or rest marked with it and then continue playing at the discretion of the conductor or the performer. Therefore, the actual duration of a fermata is often interpreted by the performer or conductor, depending on the emotional and expressive demands of the music.
Fermatas can be applied to various instruments and musical styles, generating specific effects within the music. For instance, when a fermata appears above a note, a performer may linger on that note, conveying a sense of stillness or anticipation to the audience. When a fermata is placed above a rest, it can create a dramatic effect by causing the music to momentarily pause and then resume.