Definition: A musical accent can refer to:
- A symbol that changes the way a note sounds.
For example, a staccato accent is a small black dot placed above or below a note that detaches it from surrounding notes.
- By itself, “accent” often refers to the marcato accent, seen on the last note in the image.
- Emphasis placed on a single note or beat in a measure, particularly the downbeat (which is in italics):
Count, in 3/4 time: One-two-three … One-two-three
This rhythmic “accent” may be implied, and is not always heard. The opposite qualities explain the “anti-accent” or off-beat (see upbeat to learn more).