Thursday, June 4, 2015


1522251_10152010778829537_1033489489_n.jpg 320×480 píxeles

Pizzicato (pronounced 'pitzi-KA-toe') from the Italian:
pizzicato, roughly translated as plucked) is a playing
 technique that involves plucking the strings of a bowed
 string instrument with the fingers, rather than using the
 bow. The exact technique varies somewhat depending
 on the type of stringed instrument played, the style of
 the music, and the effect wanted. The technique of
 pizzicato (or "pizz" as an abbreviation of the term)
 produces a very different sound from bowing; short
 and percussive rather than sustained. A direction
 given to players to return to the use of the bow is
 indicated by the term "arco."
To play pizzicato or pizz (pronounced 'pitz') is to
play the violin with one's finger while the violin
remains under the player's chin. To do this, (the
most traditional method) the player would quickly
place the frog of the bow in the palm of his/her
right hand (the bow hand), place the pad of the
right thumb (bow thumb) against the corner of
the fingerboard, and pluck the string firmly but
gently with the right index finger. The finger
should be plucking the strings between the
bridge and the end of the fingerboard, where
the bow usually plays. This technique is called
the "right hand" pizzicato and it is the pizzicato
most generally used.


Less used is the "left hand" pizzicato (a technique
which began to be used during the classical late
romantic period) which is when the strings are
plucked firmly with the fingers on the same
hand that presses the strings down. If reading
musical notation, this is usually indicated by a
"+" sign above the note.
Quite often this particular
form of pizzicato is meant
to be used at the same time
the player is using the bow.
When a player switches from
arco (bowing) to regular pizzicato,
the player normally requires a short
pause to switch his or her bowing
hand into pizzicato position and pluck
the string. With left-hand pizzicato,
though, a string player can play a
pizzicato note immediately following a
bowed note; thus, left-hand pizzicato
provides a means to play bowed tones
and pizzicato tones simultaneously or
in alternation during rapid passages.

The string on which the note is played
may be either open or stopped (fingered);
the only requirement for using the technique
on a stopped string is that the finger stopping
the string be lower than the finger plucking the string.

Left-hand pizzicato appears most prominently
in violin "virtuoso pieces" such as Pablo de
Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen

and Paganini's 24th Caprice.

This violin technique was first introduced and
 made famous by the famous Italian violinist:
Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840).

He was able to execute the finger movements
easier than most probably due to a medical
syndrome he had which enabled more
flexibility in his fingers and wrist.

In an article published in JAMA dated 2 January,
1978, Dr. Myron R. Shoenfeld advances the theory
that Paganini was born with Marfan's Syndrome: 
"The long, sinuous, hyperextensible fingers of his
left hand gave his fingers an extraordinary range
of motion and freedom of independent movement
on the fingerboard, while the laxness of the wrist
and shoulder joint of his right upper extremity gave
him the pliancy required for masterful bowing."
Paganini's Violin
"The Cannon" was Paganini’s cherished instrument
 which has a distinctive depth and resonance where
 its power shocks and awes listeners to this day. It is
 on display in Genoa and is occasionally loaned out
 for public recitals.

Paganini Links:



Ludwig van Beethoven
Kreutzer Sonata (1803)
(First Movement)
Nathan Milstein, Violin
Georges Pludermacher, Piano

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 4 (1877-78)
(Third Movement) 
Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor
San Francisco Symphony

Béla Bartók
String Quartet No. 4 (1927)
(Scherzo: Fourth Movement)
Amadeus Quartet

Leroy Anderson
Plink, Plank, Plunk! (1951)
Plink, Plank, Plunk! was known to many in the 1950's as the
theme for the TV game show "I've Got a Secret"
Justin W. Lewis, Conductor 
Mormon Orchestra of Washington D.C.
String Section
Jazz Pizzicato
Leonard Slatkin, Conductor
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra

Johann Strauss II
Pizzicato Polka Op. 449
Heintz Wallberg, Conductor
Weiner Symphoniker

Léo Delibes
"Divertissement: Pizzicati"
from Act 3 of the Ballet Sylvia (1876)
Miguel Del Oro Orchestra

Benjamin Britten
Simple Symphony (1934)
(Second Movement)
Swedish National String Orchestra

Ferde Grofe
Trick or Treat
(Halloween Fantasy for Pizzicato Strings)
Andre Kostelanetz, Conductor