AskDefine | Define staccato

Dictionary Definition

staccato adj : marked by or composed of disconnected parts or sounds; cut short crisply; "staccato applause"; "a staccato command"; "staccato notes" [syn: disconnected] [ant: legato] adv : separating the notes; in music; "play this staccato, please" [ant: legato]

User Contributed Dictionary



Borrowed from staccato, past participle of staccare, meaning "to separate"


  1. An articulation marking directing that a note or passage of notes are to be played in an abruptly disconnected manner, with each note sounding for a very short duration, and a short break lasting until the sounding of the next note; as opposed to legato. Staccato is indicated by a dot directly above or below the notehead.
  2. A passage having this mark.


  1. played in this style
    Now, play the same passage very staccato.


  1. describing a passage having this mark




it-pp staccat


it-adj staccat
  1. disjointed, disunited, separate
  2. loose (pages in a book)


  1. staccato

Extensive Definition

In musical notation, the Italian word staccato (literally detached, plural staccatos or staccati) indicates that notes are separated 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 are often played or sung abruptly and short. They are usually denoted 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 at times go hand in hand, but scarcely so in most modern works.
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. There is an intermediate articulation called either mezzo staccato or non-legato.

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See also

staccato in Czech: Staccato
staccato in Danish: Staccato
staccato in German: Staccato
staccato in Spanish: Staccato
staccato in Esperanto: Stakato
staccato in French: Staccato
staccato in Hebrew: סטאקאטו
staccato in Dutch: Staccato
staccato in Polish: Staccato
staccato in Portuguese: Staccato
staccato in Russian: Стаккато
staccato in Swedish: Staccato

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a cappella, abbandono, accidental, accrescendo, adagietto, adagio, affettuoso, agilmente, agitato, allegretto, allegro, amabile, amoroso, andante, andantino, appassionatamente, appassionato, arrhythmia, beat, beating, breve, brillante, cantando, capriccioso, ceaseless, ceaselessness, chattering, clicking, con affetto, con agilita, con agitazione, con amore, constancy, constant, constant flow, continual, continualness, continuity, crescendo, crotchet, decrescendo, demilegato, demisemiquaver, diminuendo, dolce, dominant, dominant note, double whole note, drumming, eighth note, enharmonic, enharmonic note, execution, expression, fingering, flat, flutter, fluttering, forte, fortissimo, glissando, half note, heartbeat, heartthrob, hemidemisemiquaver, incessancy, incessant, intonation, lamentabile, larghetto, larghissimo, largo, legato, leggiero, machine gun, marcando, mezzo staccato, minim, morendo, music-making, musical note, natural, noninterruption, note, oscillating, oscillation, palpitant, palpitation, parlando, patent note, perennial, performance, perpetual, perpetuity, pianism, pianissimo, piano, pitapat, pitter-patter, pizzicato, pounding, prestissimo, presto, pulsatile, pulsating, pulsation, pulsative, pulsatory, pulse, pulsing, quarter note, quaver, quick fire, rallentando, rapid, rapid fire, rapid recurrence, rapid succession, rapidity, rat-a-tat, rataplan, regular, regularity, rendering, rendition, repeated, repercussion, repetition, report, responding note, rhythm, rhythmic, ritardando, ritenuto, rubato, scherzando, scherzo, scherzoso, semibreve, semiquaver, shaped note, sharp, sixteenth note, sixty-fourth note, slur, sordo, sotto voce, spattering, spiccato, spluttering, sputtering, steadiness, steady, stretto, stuttering, sustained, sustained note, sustainment, tattoo, tempo, tercet, thirty-second note, throb, throbbing, thrumming, thumping, ticking, tone, touch, tremolando, tremoloso, trillando, triplet, unbroken, unceasing, unchanging, unintermission, unintermitted, unintermittent, unintermitting, uninterrupted, uninterruption, unremitting, unstopped, unvarying, vibrating, vibration, whole note
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