What’s an appoggiatura?

It comes (obviously) from Italian; appoggiare means to lean upon, to rest.

It is (or was) frequently shown by a note of smaller size.

Here’s an appoggiatura:

it sounds like this…


Notice that it moves from stressed discord…


… to unstressed concord…


The tension produced by emphasising this dissonant clash has been used from time immemorial by composers wanting to portray sadness, distress, despair, etc.

Here, for instance, is a stressed out Prince Calaf attempting to solve the sphinx-like riddles of the icy Princess Turandot (oodles of appoggiaturas!)


Puccini: Turandot (Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, Birgit Nilsson, Franco Corelli, Renata Scotto, Guido Mazzini)

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