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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by fretbuzz, Aug 2, 2001.

  1. dumb question, what does STACCATO mean?
  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    The only dumb question is the one that isn't asked.

    Staccato is a way in which a note is played. When a note is played "staccato" the duration of the note is played to its minimum. It's a short and quick note essentially. Your attack on the note is quick and the note is promptly muted. It is marked in standard notation by a dot placed just below or above the head of the note.

    Tenuto would be the opposite, where the note is stretched out for as long a duration as possible given it's value.
  3. ...and my esteemed colleague left out that tenuto is represented in standard notation with a horizontal line drawn over or below the note head. :) Just an FYI, in case anyone was curious.
  4. ok jazzbo, that is a big help, but are not all musical notes supposed to be played for there given duration i.e. quarter, eighth, sixteenth and so on. why is it necessary to have names like that?
  5. bretfuzz -

    It's primarily a shorthand way of notating different feels. To write out a passage of 16th notes followed by a 16th rest then an 1/8 rest would be exceedingly time consuming as opposed to just putting a little dot over a quarter note.
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    As my esteemed colleague pointed out, it becomes almost a shorthanded way or writing something. I also think it describes feel too.

    In 4/4, if I want to write straight quarter notes for a bar, I know that each note with take up one beat. I can divide one of those notes, and make it two eights notes. Now I've got a different feel. I can further take one of the eighth notes and make it into a rest. I still believe that placing a staccato quarter note in there is a different feel than an eighth note and an eighth rest. I'm not really sure if I'm describing it correctly though.

    Maybe part of it is in the attack of the note. I'm not at my computer, otherwise I would write something out in Finale and show you the difference in the two. I think it comes down to attack and feel. Try clapping the beats and singing notes for the beats, and see how it feels.

    I'm betting that Gard or JimK could explain this MUCH better than I'm doing right now.
  7. you're doing quite well, thank you so much.
  8. Ackchuallee, PAZZTHROW (my esteemed colleague :) ), you've done a typically spot-on job of describing it. There is a decided difference between the 16th thing I used and staccato, but it's very difficult to put in words, much much easier to play an example for someone. The 16th note stuff was the best way I could think of putting it in words. Sorry for it's shortcomings.
  9. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Incidentally, I've always thought that "staccato" was one of those words that looks likes its spelled incorrectly, even though it's not.
  10. I was told that <i>technically</i>, staccato means playing a note at half of its written duration. What staccato really means is "detached"

    And yes, there is a staccato feel. I would describe it as nervous, as if all the notes had a mind of their own, not wanting to come in contact with the other notes (hence detached).

    Legato is the opposite.

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