World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000037720
Reproduction Date:

Title: Staccato  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Legato, Articulation (music), Accent (music), Nashville number system, Cajun music
Collection: Articulations, Italian Words and Phrases, Musical Notation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Diatonic scale on C, staccato. About this sound   

Staccato (Italian for "detached") is a form of musical articulation. In modern notation it signifies a note of shortened duration,[1][2] separated from the note that may follow by silence.[3] It has been described by theorists and appeared in music since the 18th century.


  • Notation 1
  • Audio examples 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In 20th-century music, a dot placed above or below a note indicates that it should be played staccato, and a wedge is used for the more emphatic staccatissimo. However, before 1850, dots, dashes, and wedges were all likely to have the same meaning, even though some theorists from as early as the 1750s distinguished different degrees of staccato through the use of dots and dashes, with the dash indicating a shorter, sharper note, and the dot a longer, lighter one. A number of signs came to be used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to discriminate more subtle nuances of staccato. These signs involve various combinations of dots, vertical and horizontal dashes, vertical and horizontal wedges, and the like, but attempts to standardize these signs have not generally been successful.[4] This does not, however, alter the rhythm of the music and the remainder of the time allotted for each staccato note is played as rest. The opposite musical articulation of staccato is legato, signifying long and continuous notes.[5]

The scope of the staccato dot:


In the first measure, the pairs of notes are in the same musical part since they are on a common stem. The staccato applies to both notes of the pairs. In the second measure, the pairs of notes are stemmed separately indicating two different parts, so the staccato applies only to the upper note.

Playing staccato is the opposite of playing legato. A staccato passage for strings is by definition a bowed rather than a pizzicato technique, though pizzicato itself might be thought of as a kind of staccato effect. For example, Leroy Anderson's Jazz Legato/Jazz Pizzicato. There is an intermediate articulation called either mezzo staccato or non-legato.

Audio examples

Problems playing these files? See .

See also


  1. ^ Willi Apel, Harvard Dictionary of Music, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1960), p. 708.
  2. ^ Michael Kennedy, ed., The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, third edition, (Oxford and New York:Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 617.
  3. ^ Geoffrey Chew, "Staccato", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001).
  4. ^ Geoffrey Chew, "Staccato", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001).
  5. ^ Kennedy, Michael, and Joyce Bourne. “Staccato.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

External links

  • Basic Music Theory Neil V. Hawes, organist and choirmaster of St. Mary's Church, Osterley
  • Staccato - video example of staccato playing
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.