Definition of spiccato in English:



mass nounMusic
  • A style of staccato playing on stringed instruments involving bouncing the bow on the strings.

    • ‘Five preludes for solo cello imaginatively explore a restricted sonorous range of bowing, staccato and spiccato.’
    • ‘Every technical trick in the repertoire of the virtuoso string player was on display: double-stopping, flying spiccato, glissandi, glissandi harmonics, rapid string crossing arpeggios and more.’
    • ‘For musical purposes a wide variety of different bowing gestures are used, such as martelé (hammered bowing with a sudden release) and spiccato (rapid detached notes with the bow bouncing off the strings).’

adjective & adverb

  • Performed or to be performed with spiccato.

    • ‘With respect to the amazing technical wizardry written into the original work (i.e. left-hand pizzicato, harmonics, spiccato bowings, etc.), Gao asserted, ‘I try to do as much as I can physically.’’
    • ‘The spiccato parts were great, but most of the work ended up sounding like someone driving a car stepping on and off the accelerator.’
    • ‘The strings punctuated the word with furious, almost violent spiccato playing.’


Italian, literally ‘detailed, distinct’.