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 mar cat o 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