Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Music An ornament note that is one half step or one whole step below a principal note and is sounded at the same time as the principal note, adding dissonance to a harmony.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A short grace note (theoretically taking no time at all), occurring on the beat occupied by the main note to which it is prefixed, one scale-step higher or lower than that main note. (Sometimes equivalent, therefore, to a short appoggiatura, but in Baroque music interpreted differently and more strictly.) Written as a note lighter in appearance, typically a quaver (eighth note), with an oblique stroke through the stem.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A short grace note, one semitone below the note to which it is prefixed; -- used especially in organ music. Now used as equivalent to the short appoggiatura.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music: A grace-note one half step below a principal note, struck at the same time with the principal note and immediately left, while the latter is held.
  • n. More frequently, a short appoggiatura. See appoggiatura.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an embellishing note usually written in smaller size

Etymologies

Italian, from acciaccare, to crush.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from Italian acciaccatura, from the verb acciaccareĀ ("to crush") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • My tuppence worth is that I should like dictionaries to reflect both kinds of use IN THIS CASE - it's handy to know how a word is pronounced in the language from which it is borrowed, in a transparent case of highly specific borrowing such as 'acciaccatura'.

    languagehat.com: TRAI(T).

  • The first section of "Eri tu" is rendered in a splendidly firm, strong-lined legato, the words crystal-clear; it comes to an end with a decrescendo and portamento down from the top F on "guisa," a most expressive turn and acciaccatura on "primo," and a fermata at the end of the phrase.

    Conrad L. Osborne: Best Opera Critic Ever

  • On the Aussie front, I have the Australian Oxford, which seems to take a good approach; unfortunately it doesn't include acciaccatura.

    languagehat.com: TRAI(T).

  • On the other examples: I always say 'trayt' and never 'tray', and I have very often heard 'acciaccatura' pronounced the Macquarie way - but that's not the pronunciation given in my Collins English, which I shall post here if someone will point me to an idiot's guide to how to type using the IPA.

    languagehat.com: TRAI(T).

  • Angela, the Macquarie pronunciation of acciaccatura is just one of many illiterate and confused attempts to transfer the Italian term into English.

    languagehat.com: TRAI(T).

  • Noetica, that's a fairly widespread pronunciation of acciaccatura.

    languagehat.com: TRAI(T).

  • Applying this principle to acciaccatura, we would first want a dictionary to give a pronunciation considered unexceptionable by those who know musical terms well and know their Italian pronunciations; and then, if there is room and if the dictionary aims to be comprehensively descriptive, we want it to note that there are alternatives that stray from the Italian original.

    languagehat.com: TRAI(T).

  • It does not, for example, give anything other than an anglicised pronunciation for acciaccatura.

    languagehat.com: TRAI(T).

  • In the second half of the first bar, the _acciaccatura_ was never intended by the composer to be actually sung as printed.

    Style in Singing

  • The _acciaccatura_ (or short appoggiatura) is written like the appoggiatura except that it has a light stroke across its stem.

    Music Notation and Terminology

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