Portato (; Italian past participle of portare, "to carry"), also mezzo-staccato, French notes portées , in music denotes a smooth, pulsing articulation and is often notated by adding dots under slur markings.

Portato is also known as articulated legato .


{{Image frame|content={ override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f elative c'' { b-.( c-. d-. b-.) } } |width=140|caption=One type of portato notation, also used for staccato and flying spiccato.}}

Portato is a bowing technique for stringed instruments , in which successive notes are gently re-articulated while being joined under a single continuing bow stroke. It achieves a kind of pulsation or undulation, rather than separating the notes. It has been notated in various ways. One early 19th-century writer, Pierre Baillot (L’art du violon, Paris, 1834), gives two alternatives: a wavy line, and dots under a slur. Later in the century a third method became common: placing "legato" dashes (tenuto) under a slur . The notation with dots under slurs is ambiguous, because it is also used for very different bowings, including staccato and flying spiccato (; ). Currently, portato is sometimes indicated in words, by "mezzo-staccato" or "non-legato"; or can be shown by three graphic forms:
  • a slur that encompasses a phrase of staccato notes (the most common), or
  • a tenuto above a staccato mark (very often), or
  • a slur that encompasses a phrase of tenuto notes (less common) .

    Portato is defined by some authorities as "the same as portamento" .