Often in answers, I will find myself repeatedly writing a phrase like "the 7th scale degree". But there is a music theory shorthand notation for scale degrees: the number of the scale degree with a caret/hat/circumflex symbol above it.
What we can do currently (for example, with 7):
- Type out: "7th scale degree"
- Place a caret after the number: 7^ -- which looks awkward, and looks like an exponentiation symbol.
ˆafter the digit: 7ˆ, which is arguably slightly better than the caret.
Is there any way to combine the digit and the circumflex? After all, we have html entities for typesetting accidentals (♯, ♭, ♮), so why not scale degrees? At the very least, if we can't mimic the hat-notation in the literature, should we create our own community standard for notating scale degrees?
OTOH, would it even be desirable to have such a notation? It is used in Shenkerian analysis, at least, but I'm not sure how widespread its use is outside of that. Certainly beginners to this site would not know what it means.
Edit: Another possibility is using a combining circumflex, as Matthew Read suggests. Here is a screenshot of what that looks like in a freshly-updated-Chrome on my Windows 7 system:
It is similarly off-center in Firefox and IE, as well as Chrome on my android phone. I also experimented (in a trial post that I never submitted) with typing the circumflex after all seven digits -- which is similarly off-centered, but on the other side -- and with using other Combining Diacritics. The majority were similarly off-centered, especially those that are located above the main character.