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In musical notation the Italian word legato (literally meaning "tied together") indicates that musical notes are played smoothly. That is, in transitioning from note to note, there should be no intervening silence. Legato technique is required for slurred performance, but unlike slurring (as that term is interpreted for some instruments), legato does not forbid rearticulation. In standard notation legato is indicated either with the word legato itself, or by a curved line over or under the notes that are to be joined in one legato group.
One example of legato in drumming would be in the rudiment called flam.
In guitar playing legato usually refers to slurred notes, exclusively to hammer-ons and pull-offs. Use of legato technique with electric guitar will generally require playing notes that are close and on the same string, following the first note with others that are played by the techniques just mentioned. Many electric-guitar virtuosos, usually shredders, are well-versed in this technique, as it allows for rapid and also "clean" runs.
In music for violin and other bowed string instruments, legato often refers to notes played with a full bow, that are played with minimal silence between notes. This may be achieved through controlled wrist movements of the bowing hand, often masked or enhanced with vibrato. Such a legato style of playing may also be associated with the use of portamento.
- Bassoon articulations (file info) —
- A bassoon played staccato, legato, legato + vibrato, and slurred.
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- Slur (music)