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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. Legato, like staccato, is a kind of articulation.

One example of legato in drumming would be in the rudiment called flam.

[edit] Guitar

In guitar playing (apart from classical guitar) legato usually refers to slurred notes, such as 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. Multiple hammer-ons and pull-offs together are sometimes also referred to colloquially as "rolls," a reference to the fluid sound of the technique. A rapid series of hammer-ons and pull-offs between a single pair of notes is called a trill. When playing legato on guitar, it is common for the musician to play more notes within a bar than the stated timing. i.e. playing 6 notes in a 4 beat bar. this gives the piece an unusual timing and when played slowly an unusual sound. This is less noticeable by ear when played fast, which legato usually is. There is a fine line between what is legato and what is sweep picking in some cases making the two techniques harder to distinguish. Economy picking (meaning to get from one note to another in the fastest and easiest way, hence "economy") is being used constantly within legato.

[edit] Classical Stringed Instruments

In music for classical stringed 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.

[edit] See also

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