Pizzicato » Special playing styles - Philipp Dangas


Description of the playing technique Pizzicato

A special way of producing sound without using the bow. Namely the pizzicato performed by plucking or plucking the string with the fingertip. As an imitation of the sound of a harp or lute. In the highest positions, the violin pizzicato naturally becomes very pointed and glassy. Note the unison with the harp. In the lower register, the sound is rather dull.

The tonal uses of pizzicato

The pizzicato can be used:

  1. for pure harp chord accompaniment
  2. in melodic independent chord function
  3. to support / intensify wind chords

The pizzicato can also often be found in a melodic chord function. As an equivalent substitute for corresponding wind staccato chords. The possibilities of polyphony provided by the double, triple and quadruple fingerings can also be used favorably as in the 3rd example. The pizzicato is also often used purely melodically.

Pizzicato as part of the „symphonic world music“

means the use of the "pizzicato", the creation of a "percussive" sound character and above all through the use of the Bartók pizzicato (= pluck the strings so hard that they strike the wood ) the string pizzicato is strongly alienated, quasi percussive exaggerated.

This percussive intensification of the sound effect through the Bartók pizzicato and the possible reduction of the pitches to a single pitch contributes to the inner-musical mimesis ["inner-musical mimesis" Greek: μιμησις = "imitation" Here: the imitation of an instrument by another instrument]. This limits the melody capability of the instrument. Objectively, the instrument in question approaches the limited melodic ability of percussion instruments.

So, the pizzicato (playing technique) represents another possibility to imitate another instrument (here: percussion instrument ) through an acoustic instrument (here: strings). And thus create a sound character that expands the sound of symphonic world music.

Key data on the special variety of pizzicato

Italian: pizzicato
The string is plucked sideways.
A dry, clear, percussive sound that can sound a bit longer when produced on thick strings or larger instruments.
"pizz." Specification via staff. "pizz." is canceled again by "arco":
Notation of pizzicato (piz.)

Downloads for Pizzikato - Score by Peter Tchaikovsky

Sound file for the score "5th Symphony, 2nd movement"
Download-size: 784 Kilobytes
PDF file for the score "5th Symphony, 2nd movement"
Download–size: 57.5 kilobytes

Note on the score with an example of pizzicato

Two graphics with a score excerpt follow. Excerpt from the 5th symphony, second movement. Composition by Peter Tchaikovsky. An example of pizzicato. The graphics can also be enlarged. They are Link-Sensitive [Clickable].

Example of glissando