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In musical notation, the Italian word staccato (literally detached) indicates that notes are sounded in a detached and distinctly separate manner, with silence making up the latter part of the time allocated to each note. The rhythm is not affected. Notes identified as staccato should be played or sung abruptly and short. They are usually notated by a dot over the head of the note when the stem is downward, or by a dot below the head of the note when the stem is upward:
Sometimes in the Classical period (the piano works of Mozart, for example) some sort of an accent mark might be used instead, which leads to uncertainty as to what the composer intended. Accentuation and staccato effects do, after all, often go together.
Playing staccato is the opposite of playing legato. A staccato passage for strings does not necessarily have to be pizzicato, though pizzicato itself might be thought of as a kind of staccato effect. For example, Leroy Anderson's Jazz Legato/Jazz Pizzicato.
- The above music played without staccato (file info) —
- The same music played staccato (file info) —
- Bassoon articulations (file info) —
- A bassoon played staccato, legato, legato + vibrato, and slurred.
- Problems playing the files? See media help.
- Slur (music)
- Staccato (comic)
- Staccato - video example of staccato playing