"Staccato" is a term used in music to indicate a style of playing or singing where each note is distinctly separated from the others. It is derived from the Italian word "staccare", which means "to detach". When playing staccato, the performer intentionally shortens the duration of each note, creating a crisp and detached sound.
To achieve a staccato effect, musicians use various techniques depending on the instrument. For example, on a piano, the performer may lift the fingers quickly after striking the keys to cut off the sound. String players may use a quick and light bowing motion or pluck the strings sharply. Wind instrument players achieve staccato by using tonguing techniques or interrupting the airflow with their tongue.
Staccato can be notated in sheet music using a dot placed above or below the note. The dot indicates that the note should be played shorter than its full value. Additionally, a horizontal line called a "staccato mark" can be placed above or below a note, instructing the performer to articulate it in a staccato manner.
The use of staccato can add a sense of rhythmic vitality and articulation to music. It is commonly employed in a wide range of musical genres, including classical, jazz, and popular music. Staccato passages can create a playful or energetic character, enhance the clarity of fast-paced passages, or bring attention to specific musical details.