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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Neat pizzicatos, and sweeping violins lead to many dogged notes however, rather than lyrical phrasing.
Timpani could have underpinned such large forces with more bite, but basses helped with rounded, precise pizzicatos.
Webern's youthful Passacaglia (1908) cracked off with exposed pizzicatos, untidy and nervy -crucial first impressions begging more meticulous rehearsal from conductor Martin Leigh.
Sometimes the results were mannered and specious: the dog barking in Spring's somnolent slow movement sounded rabid; bass-register timbres were frequently explosive (with even some 'Bartok' pizzicatos); and did I hear some bowing col legno (wood of the bow) brought in for added colour?
Luscious strings joined pianist Alicia de Larrocha for Turina's Rapsodia Sinfonica, with only occasional untidy pizzicatos marring the faintly familiar, nostalgic Spanish themes.