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Here's something that I've always been puzzled by - quite often, especially in romantic music (e.g. Grieg does it a lot) some notes will be marked staccato, but the pedal markings indicate that the damper pedal is down. Often the pedal is down the whole time, changed at each bar, but still passages are marked with stacatto dots. Surely if the pedal is down, it makes no difference whether you play staccato or not ? Does anybody have any idea what the intention is here ?

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The staccato mark often implies a slight sharpness of attack as well as separation. This is particularly true with staccato marks under a slur or in sustained (pedaled) phrases, where they suggest a kind of staccato-like accent rather than note-to-note detachment. The trick in a legato passage with staccato marks is getting that little bite without disturbing the overall phrasing of the line.


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Packa, thanks for that explanation - that makes a lot more sense now. I will listen out for that in recordings too, and try to get a feel for it.

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I agree with Paul but just wanted to add that the aim is probably to produce a different tone effect, perhaps making the paddled staccato notes brighter and clearer.

Try playing the staccato notes legato and compare the sound. You'll probably here the difference in tone.


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That's interesting. I'm playing a digital, and I'll bet it doesn't give me that effect (I'll give it a go, however, it might surprise me !). That's probably why it didn't occur to me that there would be a difference, although on a grand piano I guess there will be.

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Originally Posted by KeemaNan
That's interesting. I'm playing a digital, and I'll bet it doesn't give me that effect (I'll give it a go, however, it might surprise me !). That's probably why it didn't occur to me that there would be a difference, although on a grand piano I guess there will be.


Personally I don't hear a difference when I try it on my digital, but I really can't get away with ignoring my staccato marks on my (or any other) acoustic! :P


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If there's also a slur, I suppose the meaning is very different from the case without a slur.

With slur, it indicates portato.


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But how would you play this? I don't see how I can make a different sound (short staccato, vs longer portato) while the notes are sustained/pedal is pressed. I understand the difference of staccato vs portato when there is no pedal involved, but with pedal I'm not so sure..

Another idea just popped into my head. Doesn't a slur indicate two things in this case: phrasing and portato? I think portato is already implied by the pedal marking, so the difference a slur makes would be the phrasing.


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Look at this definition of "Mezzo Staccato"

Mezzo Staccato

I think this defines it.


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