Musical Terms: Pizzicato

Musical Terms: Pizzicato

29Pizzicato (Italian: plucked) is a direction to performers on string instruments to pluck the strings. A return to the use of the bow is indicated by the word ‘arco’, bow. Pizzicato notes on the violin, viola and cello are normally plucked with the index finger of the right hand. The great violinist Paganini, however, introduced the technique of left-hand pizzicato for occasional use, notably in one of the variations of his 24th Caprice, where it produces a very special effect.

Audio Examples:

Paganini: Caprice No. 24 @ time index 2:47


Video Example:

Britten: Simple Symphony, Op.4 – II. Playful Pizzicato

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