“Tutorial” Guitar Lesson No. 22
In previous lessons, we have already considered the legato technique, but now let’s move on to it more thoroughly as one of the difficult techniques in the performance technique on the guitar. This technique should be considered not only as a coherent performance of sounds, but also as a method of sound extraction with the left hand without the participation of the right. Nothing works the fingers of the left hand as actively as this move, and therefore consider legato as an excellent opportunity to develop strength and independence of the fingers. To successfully master this technique, special attention should be paid to the position of the hand and fingers. The exercises presented here are taken from the guitar school of the famous XNUMXth-century guitarist Alexander Ivanov-Kramskoy. Perhaps these are the simplest exercises in terms of analysis and memorization, which give the maximum effect. In these exercises, after extracting the first sound with the right hand, the remaining sounds are extracted with the left, and in the initial exercises, if this is only one sound, then in the subsequent exercises their number increases to three (we extract the first one with the help of a right hand finger strike and then all sounds are performed with the left).
Ascending and descending legato exercises
Before you begin to thoroughly master this technique, you must take the correct position and pay special attention so that the forearm of the left hand is not pressed against the body. Trying to play legato with the hand placement as shown in these photos is doomed to failure. In the first picture, the setting of the hand is more like not a guitar one, but a violin one. With this setting, the little finger of the left hand is in a position in which, in order to play an upward legato, he needs not an accurate short and sharp (as in boxing) blow, but a blow with a swing that will take time and at the same time it will not be as sharp as this necessary for execution. In the second picture, the thumb sticking out from behind the neck of the guitar restricts the movements of the other fingers trying to play legato.
How to perform an ascending legato
To perform legato, the left hand must be in the correct position in relation to the neck, as shown in the photo below. With this position of the hand, all fingers are in equal conditions and, therefore, are equally involved in the process of performing the technique. This picture shows the process of performing an ascending legato, where the arrow indicates the strike of the little finger on the string. It is the little finger, as the weakest finger, that has problems with the execution of this technique. To perform legato, the fingers must be bent in all phalanges and, thanks to this, strike the string like hammers. On the electric guitar, this technique is called hammer-on (hammer from the English hammer). In tablature, this technique is denoted by the letter h.
How to perform a descending legato
To perform a downward legato, the fingers, as in the previous case, must be bent in all phalanges. The picture shows a legato technique played with the third finger on the second string, as you can see, the finger, when performing a descending legato, breaks the second string on the third fret towards the first, making it sound. On the electric guitar, this technique is called pull-off (pull from the English thrust, twitching). In tablature, this technique is denoted by the letter p.
Double sharp its designation and function
Before moving on to legato exercises, let’s devote five minutes of theory due to the fact that in the last exercises a new double-sharp accidental sign is encountered for the first time. Double-sharp is a sign that raises a note by a whole tone, since in music it sometimes becomes necessary to raise the sound in this way. In writing, the double sharp is presented in the form of an x - shaped cross with squares at the ends. In the figure below, the note F double-sharp is played as the note G.
Exercises by A. Ivanov – Kramskoy on legato
Please note that in the exercises each bar is represented by four figurations that are identical in structure. Having disassembled the first one, we play it four times and so on. The exercises will specifically increase the technique of the left hand, but do not forget to take breaks, everything is good in moderation. At the first symptoms of fatigue, lower your hand down and shake your hand, thereby allowing your hand to return the elasticity of the muscles to normal.
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