Op. 100/2

Are the first four staccato marked based chords an implication to play the rest as such? It sounds utterly wrong to not do so (and difficult to coordinate). Is this implied staccato common practice in sheet music? I'm still very much of a novice when it comes to reading. I did find a version of this song online with all the bass chords marked staccato (downward arrows).

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    I am not sure to what "arabesque" refers, but Wikipedia lists Turkish marches under this umbrella and those often feature a strong contrast between percussive hits and smooth sinuous melodic lines (a technique often also employed by John Philip Sousa). If this is a correct interpretation then it would be expected to begin with a "bang", a strong percussive intro, then fade into a slightly more subdued droning pattern. Nov 18, 2019 at 3:37

3 Answers 3


The first edition (published 1852) had staccatissimo dashes on the first two bars, not staccato dots. You can find it on IMSLP.

Old music editions usually assume that the performer had some musical common sense, and in this case (as you guessed) that means the articulations apply until either the music changes or there is an instruction to stop playing them. Sometime the notation "sim." or "simile" was used instead of cluttering the score with repetitive markings.

The Peters edition (published 1903) changed the dashes to staccato dots and repeats them on all the chords. That was clearly not done with Burgmüller's approval, since he had died 25 years earlier.

The editor/publisher of the other edition you found on line presumably decided that Burgmüller made a mistake marking these chords staccatissimo (and the Peters edition editor was also wrong) and he really meant marcato (which what I assume you mean by "downward arrows").

The general take-home lesson here is that finding out what a composer actually wrote, rather than what some music publisher thought he should have written, often requires a bit of research. https://imslp.org is an excellent resource for comparing editions of music that is out of copyright, like these studies.

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    I don't agree that it's "common sense" to play markings that are unwritten. Nov 18, 2019 at 3:36
  • Thank you guest. Your answer is very helpful and thank you for that resource. By downward arrows I did actually mean staccatissimo dashes, so it was probably the Peters edition I was looking at. Nov 18, 2019 at 12:36

Are the first four staccato marked based chords an implication to play the rest as such?

Yes. Your intuition is correct. The accompaniment's texture shouldn't change drastically when the melody enters. Burgmuller isn't that subtle. The marked scherzando also implies bouncy rather than lugubrious.

Is this implied staccato common practice in sheet music?

Careful composers or editors will mark simile after the markings for staccato (or pedaling, or dynamics, or whatever) cease, to indicate that they continue. But laziness is common too.


Opposite to other answers I would suggest that when the right hand entries (leggiero) the accompaniment should be played less staccato or less marcato.

The composer could have marked simile if he had wanted to continue the style. I think it is quite natural or musically logical to play the intro different than the accompaniment of this light melody.


If we compare all available sheets most oft them seem to suppose that marcato (or staccato) has to be continued, what would support the other answers. And when we listen to the performances of youtube it seems that they even play staccatissimo!

But if we consider the whole collection of Burgmüllers exercises we can see that he always added in all pieces the articulation signs thorough out the pieces.

This latter perception and fact supports my interpretation - and also the fact that it doesn't sound good!

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    The overly beginner-level fingering (even a 3-year-old could figure out a 1-2-3-4-5 run) betrays that this isn't a critical edition, so a missing simile is quite plausible. But disagreeing about interpretation keeps music interesting! Nov 17, 2019 at 16:51
  • Your paragraph in bold is key, as on the exercise on the next page in my book staccato is marked throughout the piece, so I’m thinking less staccato (although still bouncy), might have been Burgmüller’s intention. Nov 18, 2019 at 12:42
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    I wouldn't swear that I am right. But when I look at the sheet I hear a staccato intro (maybe not quite p - rather mezzo forte and diminuendo) and then leggiero accompaniment to the right hand. But what I'd like to say is: musicians should be less strictly follow indications of others (lay out, editors and teachers who make a doctrine about interpretation. I prefer a statement like the one of Camille and when I think about my compositions: Do you know how long a composer is doubting for which variation of different instrumentation or harmonization, dynamic, accents he will finally decide. Nov 18, 2019 at 13:49

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