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Marcato (Italian for marked) is a form of staccato. True marcato entails performing the note with a sforzando (sfz) attack and a sustain of two-thirds (occasionally three-quarters) of the original written length at same or increased volume, to notes preceding or succeeding it. An audible counted rest should follow (rest length: one-third to one quarter the marcato note written value)[1][2].
Marcato, as applied to other orchestral instruments, particularly winds, refers to a note articulation which combines the fortepiano (fp) or sforzando (sfz) of the accented note with a duration reduced to two-thirds of its written value (the other third being occupied by a rest); hence, in big-band jazz circles the ^ symbol for marcato, which appears above the note, is also known as a "jazz staccato." (A true staccato has a steady volume and a duration of half its written value; the other half is occupied by a rest)[3].

According to author James Mark Jordan:

"the marcato' sound is characterised by a rhythmic thrust followed by a decay of the sound[4]"

Contents

Stringed Instruments

The bowing technique on stringed instruments for marcato, is that each note is commenced with a new attack or "explosive start" to each with a rest or "gap" between marcato notes. This creates a major contrast in bowing articulation to the legato or connected manner of bowing articulation where one note is inaudibly joined to the next.
Best effect is achieved with an attack made with initial high friction incisive or "bite" (the bow-hair grips the string with such friction that the bow is restricted from smoothly moving) followed by immediate release and sustain made with a smooth, legato stroke. Marcato is best thought of as halfway between a staccato and a legato note, where a staccato is played half the length of its' written form.

Practitioners

Notable exemplars of marcato bowing are the performers Salvatore Accardo, David Oistrakh, Itzhak Perlman, Ruggierio Ricci and the late Isaac Stern. Yehudi Menuhin, Heifetz, Kreisler and their peers did not perform staccato nor marcato as dramatically as the post-war generation of violinists.

Works

One strong etude (study) of marcato is in found in the common pedagogical (children's teacher) work of H. E. Kayser Etude 14 of Opus 20: Thirty-Six Elementary and Progressive Studies For the Violin. In the latter half of the twenty-first measure [sic: bar], marcato assai, or "very marked". The technique of this Etude is as follows: lay the sides of the bow-hair onto the string, and for the first two consecutive notes, are stroked in an accented manner. After that, the bow is lifted, for a pizzicato. Then each note (not indicated with a dot above it) is performed in a style between legato and staccato.

References

  1. ^ James Mark Jordan, 'Evoking sound: Fundamentals of Choral Conducting and Rehearsing, GIA Publications: 1996, ISBN: 0941050831: 322 pages
  2. ^ William Gardiner, The Music of Nature: Or, an Attempt to Prove that what is Passionate and Pleasing in the Art of Singing, Speaking and Performing Upon Musical Instruments, is Derived from the Sounds of the Animated World: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman: 1832: 530 pages, google books reference: [[1]
  3. ^ James Mark Jordan, 'Evoking sound: Fundamentals of Choral Conducting and Rehearsing, GIA Publications: 1996, ISBN: 0941050831: 322 pages
  4. ^ James Mark Jordan, 'Evoking sound: Fundamentals of Choral Conducting and Rehearsing, GIA Publications: 1996, ISBN: 0941050831: 322 pages: pp193: "the maracto sound is characterised by a rhythmic thrust followed by a decay of the sound"
  • Max Rudolf, The Grammar of Conducting: a Practical Study of Modern Baton Technique, G. Schirmer, 1950: 350 pages, Google books reference: [[2]]







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