Although I am also learning Italian (so please feel free to answer in Italian, it will help me learn) I encountered this word in a different context: a musical score.

In the second movement of Boulez’ first sonata he writes “molto spizando” as an indication how a specific bar should be played.

relevant excerpt of the Boulez

I checked all the dictionaries I could get my hands on (some very respectable musical dictionaries but also Treccani among others) but the closest word I can find is the verb “spizzicare”. To my knowledge there is no way to form “spizando” from spizzicare, only “spizzicando”. A form of spizzicare would also be unexpected in this context.

Does this word exist at all or did Boulez invent it for this sonata?

  • 1
    Ooh, that could be! The definition is very specific to card games though... I never found it since it’s at the other end of the spiz- words (spiza- to spizz-). It might be a misspelling of Boulez; he was French and although he was a very knowledgeable man it could be that he didn’t really know the language at all. This kind of mistake certainly occurs in scores of other composers. (But Boulez is incredibly precise so a simple misspelling would be slightly out of character.)
    – 11684
    Jan 27, 2020 at 22:14
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    @Charo What a find! An archaic form seems a much better fit for Boulez than a spelling error. I'm reading through the various meanings of spicciare to see how I can apply it to this music. So far definition 5 (articolare, pronunciare a stento) seems the most appropriate (considering the register of the notes to be played molto spizando). 10 would be the funniest. For future readers, a direct link to the definitions continuing on the next page.
    – 11684
    Jan 27, 2020 at 22:53
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    What is the intended instrument(s) for this score? Maybe that "spizando" should be instead "pizzicando"? Jan 28, 2020 at 6:57
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    @linuxfansaysReinstateMonica Piano solo. I suppose pizzicando would mean to pluck the strings and that is very impractical on a piano already, but here simply impossible because of the speed (dotted quarter = 145).
    – 11684
    Jan 28, 2020 at 9:57
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    According to this book it means "spiccato", but I don't know how they arrived to this conclusion.
    – Charo
    Jan 28, 2020 at 10:05


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