Attacco, in music, indicates a short phrase, treated as a point of imitation; and employed, either as the subject of a fugue, as a subordinate element introduced for the purpose of increasing the interest of its development, as a leading feature in a motet, madrigal, full anthem, or other choral composition, or as a means of relieving the monotony of an otherwise too homogeneous part-song. The name comes from the Italian attaccare, "to unite" or "to bind together."
In the madrigal and motet, a new attacco is usually introduced with each new paragraph of the verbal text; in the glee, properly so called, the part played by the attacco is less important; while in part-songs, its appearance as a prominent feature is still less frequent. It can, however, be found in John Wall Callcott's "Go, plaintive Breeze," in Felix Mendelssohn's four-part Lied Türkisches Schenkenlied: Setze mir nicht, du Grobian.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Grove, George, ed. (1900). "Attacco". A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan and Company.