What is articulation in music?
While musical elements such as rhythm and melody change the basic movement of the music, articulation refer to HOW the music is played or sung. The most common types of articulation are staccato and legato, which refer to how the notes are connected as they are played, and accents, which emphasize an individual note.
What is staccato & legato?
Staccato refers to a short, detached, and crisp style of playing or singing, where each note is separated from the next. The notes sound “choppy”, with a brief pause between each note. Staccato is notated with a dot above or below the note.
Legato refers to a smooth and connected style of playing, where the notes flow seamlessly into each other, without any gaps or pauses in between. The notes sound “smooth”, without any interruptions or breaks. Legato is notated with a slur connecting the notes.
staccato = short and detached
legato = smooth and connected
What is an accent in music?
A musical accent is a symbol or marking that indicates a note should be emphasized or played with more “oompf” than the notes around it. An accent can be notated with a symbol such as >, ^, or simply the word “accent” written above the note.
When a note is accented, it stands out more and creates a sense of emphasis, tension, or excitement in the music. Accents can be used to highlight a particular rhythm or melody, or to create contrast and variety in the music.
Grade 1 Articulation Lessons
In grade 1 music, students learn:
- a strong sound for a note or beat (accent)
- smooth and detached sounds
Grade 2 Articulation Lessons
In grade 2 music, we learn:
- smooth sounds [legato]
- detached sounds [staccato]
Grade 3 Articulation Lessons
In grade 3 music, we learn:
- the symbols for staccato & legato
- the symbols for crescendo and decrescendo
Grade 4 Articulation Lessons
In grade 4 music, we learn:
- articulation (e.g., phrase markings)
Grade 5 Articulation Lessons
- articulation encountered in music listened to, sung, and played, and their signs