- (music) A musical note, indicated on a score in smaller type with or without a slash through it, played to ornament the melody rather than as part of it. Its note value does not count as part of the total time value of the measure it appears in.
- Synonym: grace
- 1821, James Chapman, chapter II, in The Original Rhythmical Grammar of the English Language: Or, The Art of Reading and Speaking, on the Principles of the Music of Speech, Edinburgh: Printed for James Robertson, […], OCLC 752858228, page 30:
- There is a manner of gracing the notes or accents in reading, as in singing, but which is always at pleasure. This grace note in music is called appoggiatura, that is, supporter, insinuator. As the quantities of these little notes in music are always taken out of the next note that follows, so it is in speech. Instead of a plain acute accent, thus /, we may use, which corresponds exactly with the small musical grace note, a little circumflex grave-accute, thus ⎝; or acute-grave, thus ⎞; […]
- 1851, [Friedrich] Schneider, “The Elements of Music”, in Schneider’s Practical Organ School, Containing All Necessary Instructions in Fingering, Management of Stops, Pedals, etc., […], Boston, Mass.: Published by Oliver Ditson & Company, […], OCLC 1038088701, page 21, column 1:
- Grace notes, as their name shows, though not absolutely essential to melody, are employed as embellishments, and also prevent too great uniformity. There are several kinds; the small note, or Appoggiatura, the Trill, and the Turn. An Appoggiatura is a grace note placed above or below a principal note, and is generally half the value of that note; there are instances, however, when its value is greater. […] A Turn is composed of three grace notes placed before or after a principal note.
- 1852, Louis Spohr, “On Graces, Ornaments, or Embellishments”, in U[reli] C[orelli] Hill, editor, Spohr’s Grand Violin School: Newly Revised, from the Latest German and English Editions, Boston, Mass.: Published by Oliver Ditson, […]; C. C. Clapp & Co., […]; New York, N.Y.: J. E. Gould & Co., OCLC 64077548, page 136:
- Most of these embellishments are played very quickly, in order that the note, before which they are placed, and to which they are added as grace notes, may lose but little of its value. It is often difficult to guess from which note (whether the preceding or succeeding) the time requisite for the execution of the grace note is to be taken.
- 2011, Michel Merhej Baklouk; with Nicole LeCorgne, “Unit 1 – Basic Technique Building”, in Classical Riqq Technique, Pacific, Mo.: Bill’s Music Shelf, →ISBN; republished [U.S.A.]: Mel Bay Publications, 2018, →ISBN, part II (Lessons), page 54:
- There are an infinite number of fingering combinations that can be used to play grace notes, and they are all dependent on both the hand position you are playing in and the combination of notes preceding the grace note(s).
- (figuratively) Something that decorates, embellishes, or ornaments; a finishing touch.
- 2006, Pat Righelato, “Grace Notes: Stepping off the Tin Roof into Blue”, in Understanding Rita Dove (Understanding Contemporary American Literature), Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, →ISBN, page 110:
- These concerns, often given mythic expression, explore the common human element in diverse experience: the poet [Rita Dove] touches the grace notes of famous and unknown lives, past and present.
- 2013, Sarah Kovac, “One of These Things is Not Like the Others”, in In Capable Arms: Living a Life Embraced by Grace, Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, →ISBN, page 38:
- But what I know now is that even if the feelings do return, I can wait them out, and, indeed, pain that appears to be despairing and murderous may actually contain—if I listen very carefully—a grace note of hope or consolation from God.
musical note played to ornament the melody
something that decorates, embellishes, or ornaments — See also translations at decoration, embellishment, ornament, finishing touch