Marcato (short form: Marc.) (Italian for marked) is a musical instruction indicating a note, chord, or passage is to be played louder or more forcefully than surrounding music. The instruction may involve the word marcato itself written above or below the staff or it may take the form of an accent mark, ^, an open vertical wedge. This is essentially an intensified version of the regular accent indicated by >, an open horizontal wedge: It asks for a greater dynamic accent. Like the regular accent, however, it is often interpreted to suggest a sharp attack tapering to the original dynamic, an interpretation which applies only to instruments capable of altering the dynamic level of a single sustained pitch. According to author James Mark Jordan, "the marcato sound is characterised by a rhythmic thrust followed by a decay of the sound"
The instruction marcato or marcatissimo (extreme marcato), among various other instructions, symbols, and expression marks may prompt a string player to use martellato bowing, depending on the musical context.
- George Heussenstamm, The Norton Manual of Music Notation, W. W. Norton & Company, p. 52
- Anthony Donato, Preparing Music Manuscript, Prentice-Hall, Inc., p. 50
- Tom Gerou and Linda Rusk, Essential Dictionary of Musical Notation, Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., p.36
- Walter Pison, Orchestration, W.W. Norton & Company: 1955, p. 20
- James Mark Jordan, Evoking sound: Fundamentals of Choral Conducting and Rehearsing, GIA Publications: 1996, pp193.
- Walter Pison, Orchestration, published by W.W. Norton & Company, 1955, page 17
- Kent Kennan and Donald Grantham, The Technique of Orchestration, Third Edition, published by Prentice-Hall, pp.53-54