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(pĭt'səkä`tō), in music, the technique of plucking the strings of an instrument that is usually bowed. Directions for playing pizzicato are found in early 17th-century music. Paganini introduced left-hand pizzicato, making it possible to play bowed tones and pizzicato tones simultaneously or in alternation.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) The method of producing sound on a bowed stringed instrument by plucking the strings.

(2) An instrumental piece, the performance of which is based on the above method.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. (in music for the violin family) to be plucked with the finger
2. the style or technique of playing a normally bowed stringed instrument in this manner
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
A multitude of short glissandi on strings can give the impression of continuity, and so can a multitude of pizzicati. Passages from a discontinuous state to a continuous state are controllable with the aid of probability theory.
Gerhardt revealed plenty of intricate detail along this sad journey of introspection, aggressive pizzicati railing against the music's sense of loss, and indeed intensifying emotional links with Elgar's Violin Concerto.
And as soloist Vassallo delivered a dignified characterisation of the deluded knight, noble in his orotund utterances, witty in questing pizzicati, and always with a touching vulnerability.
Apt illustrations came from the Pavao String Quartet, smoothly dovetailed into the narrative, and then we heard a complete performance of this tremendous piece, wellbalanced, well-judged, the ensemble so at ease with each other that individual lines - viola richness, earthy pizzicati from the second violin - could emerge without disrupting the homogeneity.
A totally different soundworld followed in Dvorak's achingly beautiful 'Serenade for Strings', luminous, iridescent and subtly nuanced; lovely cello solos and delicate bass pizzicati.
"My wife plays viola in the Coull String Quartet, and string quartet seemed an excellent medium to combine with table tennis as they both share things in common, like the way the bow bounces on the string, or percussive effects like left-hand pizzicati, which are not so dissimilar from the sounds made during a table tennis match.
The Britten was the Prelude and Fugue for 18-part String Orchestra, resonant with the composer's hallmarks, and equally resonant in its underpinning pizzicati at the beginning and end, sturdily delivered by the gifted young members of the Presteigne Festival Orchestra under Vass's efficient direction.
In his reading of the composer's searing Ninth Symphony, patiently assembled like a medieval cathedral-builder, he dispelled all whiffs of the organ-loft with its creaky changes of registration, allowing instead all Bruckner's orchestral colourings to make their point - and in this fabulous acoustic the pizzicati of the pounding scherzo had an amazing presence.
Recording quality is close, so close that the listener can almost feel the probing lower strings' pizzicati and throbbing harp chords as they launch this eloquent, passionate music.
There was, however, a nice little scherzo with pinging vocal pizzicati from the performers.
Played with unanimity and startling energy, and touched-up with shivers of ponticello and snapping pizzicati, they emerged as four vivid, Breughel-like landscapes.
Pizzicati were often aggressive rather than enticing, but there was some sweet tone in the leader's highest reaches.