Plucking strings?
July 24, 2008 2:05 PM   Subscribe

What songs feature the pizzicato technique?

I've always liked pizzicato music (as in Benjamin Britten's Simple Symphony, Op. 4: II and Andrew Bird's Skin is, My). What classical and non-classical songs feature the pizzicato technique?
posted by Korou to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The third movement in Tchaikovsky's Symphony #4. Lots of fun to play.

And you've already picked out my other favorite example, Andrew Bird.
posted by kiltedtaco at 2:25 PM on July 24, 2008

Saint-Saen's Danse Macabre has some fun pizzicato bits to represent dancing skeletons, etc.
posted by sevenless at 2:27 PM on July 24, 2008

Fourth movement of Bartok's "String Quartet No. 4" is done entirely in pizzicato. It's not exactly easy listening, but it really gives a look into the more percussive features of the technique.
posted by SNWidget at 2:47 PM on July 24, 2008

The fourth movement of Shostakovich's 2nd piano trio has some striking pizzicato.
posted by misteraitch at 2:48 PM on July 24, 2008

I just posted a link on the blue about music for the Ren and Stimpy cartoon, which featured pizzicato-styled classical pieces, among others more dramatic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:48 PM on July 24, 2008

Also - if you don't mind reaching out beyond typical string instruments, many contemporary composers such as Henry Cowell used pizzicato on the piano, asking for performers to reach inside and pluck the strings directly. I can't remember exact pieces, but I think "The Aeolian Harp" particularly hard portions like this.
posted by SNWidget at 2:50 PM on July 24, 2008

Holiday for Strings by David Rose (it's that classic midcentury theme music for shopping)

Happy Go Lively by Laurie Johnson.
posted by Guy Smiley at 2:51 PM on July 24, 2008

Pizzicato Polka by Johann Strauss. I always imagined it as Strauss's rebellion against the seeming hundreds of polkas he wrote.
posted by that girl at 2:55 PM on July 24, 2008

Regina Spektor - Fidelity

Ravel - String Quartet, 2nd movement

Beethoven - Archduke Trio, 1st movement (starting around 4:30)

Note, though, that the Ravel and Beethoven examples aren't "songs." A song is a short piece with singing. An instrumental classical piece is a "piece" or a "work" or a "composition."
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:12 PM on July 24, 2008

William Kroll's Banjo & Fiddle is one of those pieces that audiences everywhere love! (Also, performing it is incredibly fun.) Here are various samples: Nigel Kennedy, Michael Rabin, Jascha Heifetz.
posted by halogen at 3:15 PM on July 24, 2008

Jazz Pizzicato is one of my favorite tunes. I have some dance teachers in my family and I am always telling them that it could be the foundation for a fun routine.
posted by Sculthorpe at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2008

It's kinda inbetween, but I know that a bunch of the tunes off Apocalyptica's Inquisition Symphony or Cult CDs (probably both, as a matter of fact) feature this.
posted by sperose at 3:50 PM on July 24, 2008

There's a lovely pizzicato passage in Vivaldi's Stabat Mater. (At least, I think that's what I'm hearing. Non-musician here.) Get the Andreas Scholl / Chiara Banchini recording. Track 5.
posted by Orinda at 5:51 PM on July 24, 2008

"Took You Two Years To Win My Heart" and many others by Owen Pallett aka Final Fantasy
posted by loiseau at 7:22 PM on July 24, 2008

Here are a couple of FF links: If I Were A Carp | Many Lives -> 49 mp
posted by loiseau at 7:27 PM on July 24, 2008

"I Write Sins Not Tragedies" by Panic at the Disco.
posted by candyland at 7:30 PM on July 24, 2008

Took You Two Years To Win My Heart
posted by loiseau at 7:31 PM on July 24, 2008

"Candy Guts", by the Dambuilders is my favorite example. can't find a link, though.
posted by dropkick queen at 8:13 PM on July 24, 2008

Final Fantasy is who you want to listen to.

Tracks 3, 4, 5, and 8 on my album have pizz parts.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:47 PM on July 24, 2008

If you don't just want songs, a lovely example is the second movement of Winter from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. This is programme music at its best - the poem goes roughly "Sitting contendedly by the fire / Whilst outside the rain pours down" - there's a gentle solo melody with accompanying pizzicato to suggest rainfall.
posted by boudicca at 1:39 AM on July 25, 2008

There's a solo cello piece called Chonguri by Sulkhan Tsintsadze. It can be found on Steven Isserlis's album Cello World. It's all pizz, and is one of my all-time favorites.
posted by coppermoss at 8:42 AM on July 25, 2008

"Here Comes the Rain" by Eurythmics.
posted by NemesisVex at 11:54 AM on July 25, 2008

Musical pieces other than songs are more than welcome. Everything's been great so far!
posted by Korou at 1:23 PM on July 25, 2008

"China in your Hand" by T'Pau opens and closes with some cool pizzicato
posted by Spyder's Game at 3:00 PM on August 13, 2008

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