pizzicato

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piz·zi·ca·to / ˌpitsiˈkätō/ Mus. • adv. (often as a direction) plucking the strings of a violin or other stringed instrument with one's finger. • adj. performed in this way. • n. (pl. -tos or -ti / -tē/ ) this technique of playing. ∎  a note or passage played in this way.

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pizzicato (It., abbreviated to pizz.; Fr. pincé). Pinched. Direction that notes on str. instr. are to be prod. by plucking, not bowing, the str. An early use occurs in Monteverdi's Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (1624), but Tobias Hume in Harke, harke, one of his ‘Musicall Humors’ from The First Part of Ayres (1605, Musica Britannica IX, 116), written for bass viol and lyra viol, instructs the performers to ‘play 9 letters (i.e. notes) with your fingers’. In his vn. conc. (1910), Elgar uses the direction pizzicato tremolando, meaning that the players should ‘thrum’ rapidly with the fingers across the str.

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pizzicato XIX. — It., pp. of pizzicare pinch, twitch, f. pizzare, f. (O)It. pizza point, edge.