Definition of pizzicato in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌpitsəˈkädō/


(Often as a direction) plucking the strings of a violin or other stringed instrument with one’s finger.
Example sentences
  • Bassists should also include four 2-octave major scales and four 2-octave minor scales; two of each should be played arco, two of each should be played pizzicato.


Performed pizzicato.
Example sentences
  • The song was difficult to perform, with complicated pizzicato parts and arpeggios, requiring swift and flexible movements.
  • The first movement's imitations came alive and the pizzicato second movement was coloured with delicate charm.
  • The slow movement ‘Aria,’ finely adumbrated by pizzicato bass at the scherzo's end, is a grave conversation among the string sections and their principals.

noun (plural pizzicatos or pizzicati /-tē/)

1The technique of playing pizzicato.
Example sentences
  • Many of the most demanding techniques of the present-day violinist are associated primarily with him, including ‘ricochet’ bowing, left-hand pizzicato, and double-stop harmonics.
  • The orchestration is again brilliant, with particularly effective use of trumpets, pizzicato, string moto perpetuo, harp, and glockenspiel.
  • For example, in the A-minor concerto, the contrasting use of pizzicato versus arco with the same thematic material is a happy surprise, guaranteed to raise a smile.
1.1A note or passage played pizzicato.
Example sentences
  • A whirlwind of a third movement, with its Bartók pizzicati, brought something of the sound world of the last movement of the Barber Violin Concerto.
  • These elements were even more evocatively combined in the especially atmospheric penultimate song, ‘After a hundred years’, where the mellifluous voice was enveloped by the piano's sustained octaves and fifths and string pizzicati.
  • I would disapprove only of the needlessly dry string pizzicatos at the first suggestion of the variations' sicilienne-like theme.


Italian, literally 'pinched, twitched', past participle of pizzicare, based on pizza 'point, edge'.

Words that rhyme with pizzicato

agitato, Ambato, castrato, esparto, inamorato, legato, moderato, obbligato (US obligato), ostinato, rubato, staccato, tomato, vibrato, Waikato

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: piz·zi·ca·to

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