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commonly referred to as marcato (It. marcatissimo or martellato).
commonly referred to as an accent (It. marcato).
Diatonic scale on C, marcato. About this sound Play 

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 the surrounding music. The instruction may involve the word marcato itself written above or below the staff or it may take the form of the symbol ,[1][2][3] an open vertical wedge. The marcato is essentially a louder version of the regular accent > (an open horizontal wedge).

Like the regular accent, however, the marcato is often interpreted to suggest a sharp attack tapering to the original dynamic,[4] 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."[5]

In jazz big-band scores, the marcato symbol usually indicates a note is to be shortened to approximately ​23 its normal duration, and given a moderate accent.

The instruction marcato or marcatissimo[6] (extreme marcato), among various other instructions, symbols, and expression marks may prompt a string player to use martellato bowing, depending on the musical context.[7] An example is the Gavotte in D Major from J. S. Bach (Suzuki Book Volume 3) page 19, Bar 39.


  1. ^ George Heussenstamm, The Norton Manual of Music Notation, W. W. Norton & Company, p. 52
  2. ^ Anthony Donato, Preparing Music Manuscript, Prentice-Hall, Inc., p. 50
  3. ^ Tom Gerou and Linda Rusk, Essential Dictionary of Musical Notation, Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., p.36
  4. ^ Walter Pison, Orchestration, W.W. Norton & Company: 1955, p. 20
  5. ^ James Mark Jordan, Evoking sound: Fundamentals of Choral Conducting and Rehearsing, GIA Publications: 1996, pp193.
  6. ^ Walter Pison, Orchestration, published by W.W. Norton & Company, 1955, page 17
  7. ^ Kent Kennan and Donald Grantham, The Technique of Orchestration, Third Edition, published by Prentice-Hall, pp.53-54