[luh-gah-toh; Italian le-gah-taw]

adjective, adverb Music.

smooth and connected; without breaks between the successive tones.

Compare staccato.

Origin of legato

1805–15; < Italian, past participle of legare < Latin ligāre to bind
Related formsnon·le·ga·to, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for non-legato

Historical Examples of non-legato

  • We must conclude that the indication "non-legato" finally degenerated into meaning "staccato."

  • The process of the non-legato touch, by showing contrary results, will bear me out.

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann

  • In that emergency we should have to resort to "piecing on," and this means a jerk at every instance—equal to a non-legato.

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann

British Dictionary definitions for non-legato


adjective, adverb

to be performed smoothly and connectedly

noun plural -tos

  1. a style of playing in which no perceptible gaps are left between notes
  2. (as modifier)a legato passage

Word Origin for legato

C19: from Italian, literally: bound
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for non-legato


1811, from Italian legato, literally "bound," past participle of legare, from Latin ligare (see ligament). Of music to be played smoothly, without intervals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper