World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0005153849
Reproduction Date:

Title: Tenuto  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Accent (music), Articulation (music), Portato, Percussion notation, Tremolo
Collection: Articulations, Italian Words and Phrases, Rhythm and Meter
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A tenuto marking on an individual note
Diatonic scale on C, tenuto. About this sound Play  

Tenuto (Italian, past participle of tenere, "to hold") is a direction used in musical notation. It is one of the earliest directions to be used in music notation, as Notker of St. Gall (c.840 - 912) discusses the use of the letter t in plainsong notation as meaning trahere vel tenere debere in one of his letters.

The precise meaning of tenuto is contextual: it can mean either hold the note in question its full length (or longer, with slight rubato), or play the note slightly louder. In other words, the tenuto mark may alter either the dynamic or the duration of a note. Either way, the marking indicates that a note should receive emphasis.[1]

The mark's meaning may be affected when it appears in conjunction with other articulations. When it appears with a staccato dot, it means non legato[2] or detached. When it appears with an accent mark, because the accent indicates dynamics, the tenuto means full or extra duration.[3]


Tenuto can be notated three ways:

  1. The word tenuto written above the passage to be played tenuto.
  2. The abbreviation ten. written above the note or passage to be played tenuto.
  3. A horizontal line, roughly the length of a notehead, placed immediately above or below the note to be played tenuto (as in the image above).

See also


  1. ^ Tom Gerou and Linda Lusk, Essential Dictionary of Music Notation no (1996)
  2. ^ Kurt Stone, "Music Notation in the Twentieth Century" (1980)
  3. ^ Tom Gerou and Linda Lusk, Essential Dictionary of Music Notation (1996)
  • David Fallows, "Tenuto." Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy. (Accessed 15 May 2006) [2]
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.