Italian, lit. – connected, smoothly, from legare – to connect
A coherent performance of sounds, when they seem to pass one into another. The opposite of staccato. Graphically represented by a league. With the help of L., sounds are combined into one phrase: the performance of L. contributes to the perception of the melody as melodious. In singing and playing the brass music. instruments L. is due to the fact that the air stream is not interrupted when several sounds of different heights are extracted. On strings. bowed instruments L. is achieved by performing a series of sounds on one bow up or down. On keyboard instruments, to reach L., the key is released only shortly before the finger strikes another key (sometimes even a little later). In the suit-ve performance on fp. with its rapidly fading sound, mastery of L.’s technique is of particular importance. The designations ben legato and legatissimo prescribe a very coherent performance, the designation non legato is a performance intermediate between portato and staccato.