#1
Guitarists refer to hammer-ons, pull-offs, tapping etc. as legato technique. Yet, recently I've heard several people in MT mentioning how this is not technically legato. It doesn't really matter what it is or isn't, just how it sounds...but I just wanted to hear why this stuff isn't considered legato playing. Just curious. Thanks guys, gals, both and neither.
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#2
Legato is the technical musical word, and Latin musical word for soft and smooth sounding. Thats purely what legato is, soft and smooth.

Hammer on and pull offs often get referred to as legato because it gives a soft and smooth sound.

Legato isn't the technique, its the sound, which hammer ons and pull offs just happen to be good at achieving.

If you pick every note it often gives a harder, more aggressive sound, so is not really legato (as it doesn't sound soft and smooth).


So think of hammer ons and pull offs as a way of achieving legato, not a group of techniques.
Last edited by jkielq91 at Jun 16, 2011,
#3
to add to the poster above, legato is pretty much flowing sound without pauses, every time you pick,there's millisecond pause between notes, meanwhile hammer-ons and pull-offs produce sound without breaks therefore its
Quote by jkielq91
soft and smooth.
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#4
It's about as legato as you can get on the instrument without slaving away learning the Holdsworth/Garsed technique.
#5
Using hammer-ons and pull-offs is pretty much just slurring. It's similar to a wind player that doesn't tongue two separate notes but instead only uses his embouchure or keys.
#6
you can play legato with a pick despite what others here are saying. legato just means to play smoothly. steccato means to play choppy. a lot of people think in order to play steccato you need to mute. this is also untrue. you dont NEED to do anything other than make it sound choppy, or in the case of legato, make it sound smooth.

it just so happens that playing without a pick or using tapping, makes it easier to sound smooth. and muting makes it easier to sound choppy. ive heard people pick every note and sound smooth. ive also heard people pick every note and sound choppy. like you said OP, it doesnt really matter what they are doing, what matters is how it SOUNDS. a good example is eric johnson. he can make it sound like he picks every note. in fact, most people think he does. but he doesnt. on the other hand, ive seen him pick every note and sound super smooth and fluid. but ive heard people like paco de lucia who picks every note sound very steccato. and ive heard shredders who sound pretty much the same while picking, or doing tapping or left hand "legato" only.

i think people refer to it as legato technique because it IS easier to get that sort of sound, and there really isnt a good term for it.
#7
Hammer ons/pull offs/etc etc are techniques you use to achieve a legato sound

The technical definition of legato is smooth and soft. The practical definition is connected
#9
Quote by Zen Skin
Legato is Italian for "tied together". It is a type of articulation.

Often guitar players use it to mean very rapid series of hammer-on/pull-offs. Technically hammer-ons and pull-offs are a way of playing legato, but not the only way and the term has absolutely nothing to do with rhythm or tempo.



Thanks for remember the actually translation.
#10
Legato doesn't refer to a technique, it refers to a certain sound (smooth and fluid). Hammer-ons and pull-offs are the techniques that guitarists can use to achieve that sound.
#11
Legato is latin for

lega = fluid
ato = suffix for a more quiet motion (with respect to the accented notes). This evolved a few centuries ago when people were comparing legato runs of various instruments to the friction of a violin bowstring's effects on the string.

HO/PO/Tapping is all fluid and legato. The people who disagree are conspiracy theorist nutbags.
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Last edited by AtomicBirdy at Jun 17, 2011,
#12
Well, naturally hammer-ons sound smoother than pull-offs, if you wanted your legato to be as smooth as possible you would have to use reverse hammer-ons.
#13
Quote by AtomicBirdy
Legato is latin for

lega = fluid
ato = suffix for a more quiet motion (with respect to the accented notes). This evolved a few centuries ago when people were comparing legato runs of various instruments to the friction of a violin bowstring's effects on the string.

HO/PO/Tapping is all fluid and legato. The people who disagree are conspiracy theorist nutbags.


this.
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#14
Quote by AtomicBirdy
The people who disagree are conspiracy theorist nutbags.



Ooh, that's fun.

Thanks for the replies. I was kind of hoping one of the legato bashers would step forward and explain why they though this way...guess not?
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#15
Quote by soviet_ska
Ooh, that's fun.

Thanks for the replies. I was kind of hoping one of the legato bashers would step forward and explain why they though this way...guess not?


Read my above post regarded pull offs.
#17
Quote by soviet_ska
Guitarists refer to hammer-ons, pull-offs, tapping etc. as legato technique. Yet, recently I've heard several people in MT mentioning how this is not technically legato. It doesn't really matter what it is or isn't, just how it sounds...but I just wanted to hear why this stuff isn't considered legato playing. Just curious. Thanks guys, gals, both and neither.



Well, some of the advice here is simply wrong. "modes aren't scales, box shapes are bad for you.... . ect."

alot of people prematurely jump to give advice , often giving the impression of expertise, when ifn fact they are just regurgitating some half listened to advice from another misinformed person online.


The truth is, those ARE techniques for getting a legato sound on guitar. pretty obvious.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 19, 2011,
#18
Quote by soviet_ska
Guitarists refer to hammer-ons, pull-offs, tapping etc. as legato technique. Yet, recently I've heard several people in MT mentioning how this is not technically legato. It doesn't really matter what it is or isn't, just how it sounds...but I just wanted to hear why this stuff isn't considered legato playing. Just curious. Thanks guys, gals, both and neither.

They are technically correct when they say that hammer-ons and pull-offs are not classical legato technique. In classical legato, as has been explained to me, the notes run together slightly, creating a sound that is, for lack of a better explanation, fluid sounding. True legato really doesn't exist for bowed or plucked stringed instruments because that sound is difficult to achieve cleanly.

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are the closest thing most guitarists can do to get a legato sound. When a guitarist refers to legato technique, more often than not, he is referring to hammer-ons and pull-offs. However, those techniques are not true legato, and for some players (John Petrucci comes to mind), these so-called legato techniques do not sound much at all like classical legato (not a slight against Petrucci, but many players, him included, have a technique that is very snappy and clear, not slurred together as is the case for classical legato).

Two techniques a guitarist can use to more closely imitate classical legato. The first is Holdsworthian legato. Alan Holdsworth, a famous and very skilled jazz guitarist, uses a style of legato techniques that is devoid of pull-offs, which is the snappier and less "legato" of the two techniques. Instead, he uses a series of hammer-ons and a very well developed muting technique to closely imitate classical legato. Here is a video of Marshall Harrison explaining the ideas I have explained thus far: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTI2s4svE2s. Note: the video is not a true lesson because he doesn't get into the technical aspect, but he goes more in depth about what classical legato is versus a guitarist's concept of legato.

The other is sweep picking. This technique is the closest a guitarist can come to classical legato is sweeping by virtue of how the technique is applied. The notes in sweeping run right against each other, to put things in layman's terms. The previous not is muted, but they notes so nearly follow one another, even at low tempos, that the notes sound as if they are nearly slurred together. That so-called "sweeping sound" that you hear in a lot of rapid sweeping passages is really the nearest you'll come to classical legato on a guitar.
#19
Quote by GuitarMunky
The truth is, those ARE techniques for getting a legato sound on guitar. pretty obvious.

but thats not what OP is asking. OP is saying people in MT are saying these techniques are not called "legato", and they are right. legato isnt a technique, its a feel or a sound you are trying to achieve. you CAN tap or play with hammer ons and pull offs and not have a legato sound. its all about HOW you play these different techniques.

the only thing you need to do to play legato is to play as fluid and tied together as you can.
#20
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
but thats not what OP is asking. OP is saying people in MT are saying these techniques are not called "legato", and they are right. legato isnt a technique


I'm saying he should avoid the semantics bullshit, because that's what ^ that is.

and if your going to argue semantics ....

"legato technique" implies a technique that achieves legato. It does not imply that their is a technique called legato.

Which is why saying that hammer ons and pulls are not legato techniques is wrong.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 20, 2011,