Definition and background:
A style of playing notes in a detached, separated, distinct manner, as opposed to legato. Staccato is indicated by dots directly above or below the notehead. Separate. Sounded in a short, detached manner making each note brief and detached; the opposite of legato. In music notation, a small dot under or over the head of the note indicates that it is to be articulated as staccato.This indicates that the note is to be played shorter than notated, usually half the value, the rest of the metric value is then silent. Staccato marks may thus appear on notes of any value, thus shortening their actual performed duration without speeding up the music itself.
Is a light, short stroke with a period of silence between notes, this will very according to tempo
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary