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#971153 - 04/17/08 04:42 PM What does sempre staccato mean?
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Literally taken, doesn't it mean "always" (sempre) staccato?

To me, the word always seems pretty absolute, yet, in the piece I'm looking at, I am seeing two note slurs (down, up [lift]) in a piece marked sempre staccato, so clearly there is an exception to the 'always' part. Accent marks (with a tie) appear above certain notes, so that's not staccato either. I just don't know what other exceptions there might be.

The notation is very odd. 80 percent of the notes are explicitly marked staccatto (so what was the point of the sempre staccato notation?) while the staccatto for the other 20 percent (barring exceptions, where it is explictly marked otherwise) seems to be 'implied,' as if the beginner is simply expected to "just know" or they were just too lazy to write the dots for the other remaining unmarked notes.

Any advice as to why this is and how one can know for certain, if it any given unmarked note is really[/b] an implied stacatto, as the sempre staccato would seem to suggest?

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#971154 - 04/17/08 05:05 PM Re: What does sempre staccato mean?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Does the "sempre staccato" apply to the bass clef?

Are the accents only in the melody?

Do you have a way to post the piece? Is it by chance ragtime? Or a novelty tune? What's the name of it, and composer?


#971155 - 04/17/08 05:12 PM Re: What does sempre staccato mean?
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hi Betty:

You always come to my rescue! \:\)

The piece is Overture to The Barber of Seville (Rossini). Sorry, I don't have a scanner, so I'm unable to post the image.

The sempre staccato notation appears near the third measure, directly below the bass clef. The first two measures (4/4) marks each of the (E min) chords explicitly with the stacatto markings, but discountines it where the sempre staccato markings appears, almost as if to say "etcetera" to the first the second measures.

Accents appear on the same beat in both clefs.

I'm beginning to think (now that you made me relook at the score more closely) that it really means 'always stacatto in only the bass clef, which would make sense.

#971156 - 04/17/08 05:21 PM Re: What does sempre staccato mean?
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
A slur combined with staccato is portato. It's played between legato and staccato. So if a piece is marked sempre staccato and a slur appears, that section is played portato.
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#971157 - 04/17/08 05:29 PM Re: What does sempre staccato mean?
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6162
Loc: Down Under
Originally posted by Akira:
The first two measures marks each of the chords explicitly with the stacatto markings, but discountines it where the sempre staccato markings appears, almost as if to say "etcetera" to the first the second measures. [/b]
I think you've got it - "etcetera" it is \:\)

The other thing they might have written is simile, or sim. In other words, just keep doin what you're doin and save me the trouble of writing it out!
Du holde Kunst...

#971158 - 04/17/08 06:36 PM Re: What does sempre staccato mean?
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3605
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
sempre fi = always faithful (hey, maybe a good motto for one of the military services, huh?)

sempre staccato = always staccato

IOW - what currawng said. \:\)

Regards, JF
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

#971159 - 04/17/08 07:25 PM Re: What does sempre staccato mean?
gaffster Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 244
Loc: east central florida
sempre intoxicato con piano forte!


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