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The piece is called "Cello Melody"

2 Answers 2


This is called a portato marking.

In your example, the portato is notated with staccato markings (the dots) along with tenuto markings (the dashes). In addition to this notation, you'll also occasionally find portato notated as staccato notes within a larger slur (instead of including the tenuto markings).

For strings, it indicates a slight articulation of each note while still being within a single bow stroke. For other instruments, it's often described as a "pulsing" articulation. I recommend imagining yourself as a string player, and really envisioning what it would be like to play the notes with a single stroke while still adding in a slight articulation for each.

Further reading is available on the Wikipedia page for portato.

  • I'm sorry, but I find your descripion of how to play it on piano very confusing
    – klippy
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 8:34
  • I wonder if a quote from this page might be helpful: "In a staccato, your finger comes up faster than the key; in a portato, you're controlling the length of the tone, which is separating one tone from the next. I tell my students to think of a "sticky staccato". Non-legato is another term."
    – Richard
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 10:00
  • 1
    You say portato... :o) Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 11:54
  • @klippy : Where does this answer mention playing it on piano?
    – MPW
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 14:39
  • Today the piano is generally considered to be both a stringed and a percussion instrument. Pretty sure it was an attempt at humor saying it's hard to see using a bow to play a piano.
    – xQbert
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 15:05

Somewhat of contradiction in terms, seemingly!

Staccato (the dot) meaning to be played fairly short - around half the shown length - while the line means hold the note for at least its full duration!

That said, in string playing, there's slight separation of the notes - even more confounding - but I guess this isn't for string playing, even given the 'Cello melody' title, as three simultaneous note playing is rare there. However, on stringed instruments, it is played making the melody line with the same bow direction, with a slight gap between each note. Not particularly applicable here, with triads on piano.

Named - loure.

  • Yeah, it's clearly a piano score, given the fingering marks. I'm guessing it's just called "Cello Melody" because it mostly uses lower pitched notes than the typical piano piece. There's a Chopin Etude that's sometimes called the "Cello Etude" because the melody is in a lower register. Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 15:20

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