A short grace note before an essential melodic note
"Acciaccatura" is a musical ornamentation technique characterized by the momentary playing of a note just before the main note. This additional note is typically quickly resolved onto the main note, creating an instant sense of dissonance. The term is derived from the Italian word "Acciaccare", which means "to crush".
When performing an acciaccatura, the musician quickly plays a short note just before the main note, generating an immediate sense of discord. This instantaneous dissonance contributes to enriching the emotional expression in music.
In sheet music, acciaccature are usually marked with small eighth notes with a slanting line and typically appear only in the melody or main theme.
Although similar to "appoggiatura", acciaccature emphasize the main note more strongly while appoggiature emphasize the auxiliary note.
The origin of acciaccature can be traced back to the Baroque period and has continued to exist in later musical eras. This ornamental technique introduces subtle dissonance and tension, adding extra layers of emotion to musical passages. In music, acciaccature are often used to convey a sense of urgency or surprise.