Definition of pizzicato in English:


Line breaks: pizzi|cato
Pronunciation: /ˌpɪtsɪˈkɑːtəʊ


(Often as a direction) plucking the strings of a violin or other stringed instrument with one’s finger.
More 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.


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Performed pizzicato: an inspired pizzicato movement by the Philharmonic strings
More 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 /-ti/)

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1The technique of playing pizzicato.
More 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.
1.1 [count noun] A note or passage played pizzicato.
More 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'.

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Pronunciation: ˈrɛtrə(ʊ)flɛks
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