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Col legno

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A marking of col legno (Italian for "with the wood") in written music calls for striking the strings of bowed string instruments (particularly the violin, viola, cello, and double bass) with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. This bowing technique results in a muted percussive sound. The eerie quality of a violin section playing col legno is exploited in some symphonic pieces, notably the "Dream of Witches' Sabbath" of the fifth and last movement of Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique. Some violinists, however, object to this style of playing as it can damage the finish of the bow. To avoid this issue, some players tap the strings with pencils instead of bows. There is also a technique called col legno tratto in which the player drags the wood of the bow instead of striking the string.

This article was started using a Wikipedia legno article
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