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Slur Study in C by Carulli

"Slur Study in C - The ligado exercise by Carulli to strengthen your left hand..."

This work by Carulli is an excellent way to practice your left hand slur technique. Carulli was born in Italy in the same year as Beethoven (1770) he became one of the most popular and loved classical guitar composers and players of his time. Indeed, that love extends right up to the present day as new generations of guitarists "find" his music and make it their own.

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Back to Slur Study...

Slurs, sometimes known as ligado, are played note to note (up or down). This is with the second note being played by the left hand finger only. The slurs consist of both hammer- on's and pull-offs. You'll notice in this little video below that the actual technique for hammer-on's is to give yourself some distance (about 1/2 - 1 inch) to make the slur effective.

You’ll also notice that I’m using the center of my finger right on the tip rather than the “pad” of the finger. This is, so I play the note correctly. In other words, slightly muting it by accident, therefore, deadening the note.

Similarly, with the pull-off you need to "drag" the string slightly downwards to give it a "snap" feel and sound. You only pull the string down almost to the string below it though to get that crisp “snap”. That means you have to be “light-fingered” as it were, to create the movement and accuracy needed at that speed or tempo.

When you put these two techniques together, you have the trill. The complete trilling technique on guitar consists of ligado or "slur" movements both up and down. You must master the slur and hammer-on because the trill is a continuous movement, if only for a few seconds. It’s a good idea to approach classical guitar skills in this way, namely: breaking down and practicing the itemized technical skills that are required in a piece.

After a while, these technical skills become second nature. Indeed, this is the whole point of study, and why Carulli wrote it in the first place. In other words – practice makes perfect!

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Here's a definition of a trill technique...

"The trill (or shake, as it was known from the 16th until the 19th century) is a musical ornament consisting of a rapid alternation between two adjacent notes, usually a semitone or tone apart, which can be identified with the context of the trill.[2] (compare mordent and tremolo). It is sometimes referred to by the German triller, the Italian trillo, the French trille or the Spanish trino. A cadential trill is a trill associated with a cadence."

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