I'm making a presentation for the my music project and I need to write a section on articulation markings. But I'm not really sure about what counts as articulation markings. For example, are the markings for piano pedals articulation marks or is it just things like staccato notes and slurs? Also are breath marks, trills and glissandos articulation markings or are they named under another category?

  • 1
    Look at 'Explanation of Phrasing, Accidentals, articulation, modulation for a piano player' to the right of your screen. It could be a duplicate.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 8:35
  • Thank you. It was helpful for the other sections of my presentation but didn't really help with articulation. Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 12:16

3 Answers 3


'Articulation' is how something is played. So, any mark that gives an indication to that effect is legitimate. All of those mentioned are game. They show more than 'this is the note you play' but 'this is how you are expected to play it'. Thus importantly, staccato and legato, phrase marks and slurs. Since articulation is more about how notes are connected to each other, pedal markings (damper, sostenuto) are part of it too.

Glissando and portamento would also come under the banner, describing how notes are joined with each other. I am not including in 'how' notes are played any dynamics, attack marks, etc. They won't be part of the joining that the term articulation means.(Reference Peter's comment).

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    I disagree with this definition of articulation. Your definition would seem to include dynamic markings (how loud to play), but dynamics are definitely not considered articulations.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 22:20
  • Huh, I've never heard of pedal markings or glissandos as articulation. In the same boat, I wouldn't think breath marks or caesuras are, either.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 15:47
  • @Dekkadeci - Pedalling means notes already played continue to sound. Their relationship with subsequent notes is different from that produced by legato playing. Glissando is another way in which notes are joined. The term articulation is basically about how things are joined together - in our case - notes.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 15:56

Also are breath marks, trills and glissando's articulation markings or are they named under another category?

Actually, yes there are, piano uses a slur marking,which looks very similar to a tie but it runs to a separate note, stacatto's and rests are indicators that tell us to play notes seperated, for example in the "Mission Impossible" theme (no not the bastardized version Tom Cruise used, the real one! ) the left hand is playing seperated notes (stacatto 8th notes), the right hand (played with flutes) is played slurred (1 e and (u 2 and 3 and) )!

"Orochi" by Kitaro (same time siganture by the way ) pretty much does the same thing, the left hand is seperated, this time by stacatto quarted notesm, the right hand is mostly slured.

So voice marks, of a type , do exist in piano music!

  • Thank you for that answer, that is very helpful. So are the pedal marks in piano music to engage and release the pedal classed as marks for articulation as they also change the style of the note? Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 0:04

Articulation markings denote how notes should be connected to or separated from each other. So slurs, portato, staccato, tenuto, and markings like those count as articulations.

Pedal markings don't count. Dynamics don't count. Breath marks, trills, and glissandos don't count.

Trills, turns, mordents, and more--markings that substitute notes with collections of other related notes (and often with the same note interspersed)--are called ornaments.

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