A primitive multiple curve is a Cohen-Macaulay irreducible projective curve Y that can be locally embedded in a smooth surface, and such that C = Y red is smooth. In this case, L = C∕C2 is a line bundle on C. If Y is of multiplicity 2, i.e. if C2 = 0, Y is called a ribbon. If Y is a ribbon and h0(L-2) ⁄= 0, then Y can be deformed to smooth curves, but in general a coherent sheaf on Y cannot be deformed in coherent sheaves on the smooth curves.
A ribbon with associated line bundle L such that deg(L) = -d < 0 can be deformed to reduced curves having 2 irreducible components if L can be written as