There are many techniques for plucking string instruments. This article lists and describes the main types. Demonstrations and discussion of various techniques can be found in the video and audio clips below....
Description: plucking the string, as opposed to bowing
Comments: At the end of a pizzicato passage the instruction arco is used to indicate that players change to bowing instead of plucking.
Description: two or more notes plucked together.
Comments: When chords appear in a pizzicato passage they are usually strummed. Chords will be strummed from the lowest note upwards unless indicated otherwise (perhaps by a downward arrow beside the chord).
Description: after the note is plucked the left hand finger slides up or down the string.
Notation: the same as a bowed example, but with the word pizz underneath
Comments: A quiet effect. If you listen to the examples below you will notice that the glissando part is very quiet compared to the plucking sound at the start of the note.
Description: Snap or 'Bartok' Pizzicato involves pulling the string upwards and allowing it to 'snap' sharply against the fingerboard.
Notation: snap pizz written instruction or the symbol shown opposite - a circle with a vertical line at 12 o'clock
Comments: Often used by Béla Bartók, hence the nickname.
Description: plucking with the fingernail
Notation: nail pizz
Comments: Can be painful, but gives a crisp start to the pizzicato sound. Cellists will use a guitar plectrum if there is a lot of nail pizz to do.
Left Hand Pizz
Description: plucked with left hand rather than the bowing hand.
Notation: a + sign above the note
Comments: Can be combined with arco so that players produce both plucked and bowed notes simultaneously.