I'm transcribing liturgical choir music. I want to know is there an articulation that's longer then staccato but shorter then a note without an articulation. I have half notes that needs to be sung shorter but not as short as staccato. How do I need to notate these half notes in this situation? Thanks

  • 5
    To get them sung exactly as you want, it may be better to write shorter notes with rests in between. Portato is fine, but open to interpretation.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 12:43
  • At first thought I wanted to do just that. But after thinking it through I came to the conclusion that it will be hard on the users (singers) who read the score.
    – Nachmen
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 12:49
  • 4
    It may well be easier, as they'll see just what you want sung - as individuals, or with a conductor.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 13:07
  • It also matters very much what the text is. Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 18:00

3 Answers 3


Portato is notated with both a tenuto bar on the outside and a staccato dot on the inside. enter image description here

  • 2
    Its also possible to notate it with legato slurs and stacatto dots
    – user46792
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 12:06
  • 2
    Slurs with articulation marks can imply certain technique on certain instruments. The tenuto+staccato mark is more easily recognized as a note length indication without implying technique.
    – MattPutnam
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 17:22

Okay, very obvious answer: you can simply use the text marking poco staccato. This means, a little bit staccato. However, I actually think the solution suggested in one of the comments, to use shorter note values separated by rests, is the most clear and practical notation.


You can use portato, which is an articulation that is longer than staccato and shorter than legato.

  • How is it notated?
    – Nachmen
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 10:31
  • You can simply google it. There are two ways of notating it. Stacatto dots and legato slurs or with a tenuto marking and a stacatto dot.
    – user46792
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 12:10
  • If it's only two half notes consecutively what is better tenuto marking with staccato dot or staccato dots with legato slur?
    – Nachmen
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 13:38
  • I think it is up to personal preference in that case.
    – user46792
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 14:08
  • 11
    FYI, one of the major goals of Stack Exchange and Stack Overflow is that when someone does "simply google" something, they arrive here and the complete answer is listed here. Nothing is more frustrating when searching for answers on the internet than doing a search, finding some likely looking hits, and then finding those hits just have dead links or suggestions to do the web search you just did. SE/SO should be the end of the searching, not a stop along the way. Now that I think about it, pintrest hits are probably more frustrating, but only slightly. Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 16:35

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