Web learnclassicalguitar.com


"Glissando - performed with a gliding effect by sliding one or more fingers rapidly over piano keys or strings..."

This technique, sometimes known as portamento or slide, is when you move from one guitar note to another in a piece of music on the same string without lifting your finger entirely off it. It is meant to add expression and should be performed tastefully.

In music notation, it is usually indicated by the word "gliss" and there is usually a small line drawn between notes in the score or sheet music itself. In fact, the word "portamento" may be misnomers in guitar music as the portamento is usually played by fretless instruments and, according to Fred Noad the gliss... "sounds the succession of notes individually in the form of a fast scale, and necessitates a minute pause of the left hand at each fret...This technique is extremely rare in guitar music."

Get the 'Music Notation Primer' just for joining the LearnClassicalGuitar Resources newsletter...

Whether you're a beginner, or have some experience playing classical guitar, the regular sheet music in both notation & TAB will improve your skills and technique QUICKLY !

Classical guitar players (and others) are really performing a slide which is, more often than not, faster and even more graceful than the "gliss" or portamento. Whatever you want to call it, it shouldn't really matter if the end goal is to add some graceful and tasteful skills to your overall guitar technique.

This is how Francisco Tarrega used a slide at the start of his mazurka called "Marietta"...

Below, in the YouTube video, you can see Julian Bream play Marietta. If you want the full series this performance came from click here...

As you can see, the slide that is used is on the second string. It starts at the "C" note on the first fret and slides to the "E" note on the 5th fret.

It is a good idea to make these "slides" part of your daily practice. You can use different fingers and practice on different strings until you get a good feel for the gliding/sliding motion. You need to let off a little pressure from when you are fingering the note but make sure your finger doesn't come off the string or the sliding sound shall be lost.

Again, like everything with guitar, it's going to take some honest practice on your part but believe me, it's worth it in the end.

Here's what Wikipedia says about the Glissando vs. portamento technique...

Prescriptive attempts to distinguish the glissando from the portamento by limiting the former to the filling in of discrete intermediate pitches on instruments like the piano, harp, and fretted stringed instruments have run up against established usage of instruments like the trombone and timpani. The latter could thus be thought of as capable of either 'gliss' or 'portamento', depending on whether the drum was rolled or not. The clarinet gesture that opens Rhapsody in Blue could likewise be thought of either way: it was originally planned as a gliss (Gershwin's score labels each individual note) but is in practice played as a portamento though described as a glissando...

More on Glissando...

It comes from a wider article about the subject and you can see that article here...

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.


A Bit About Me...

Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

Classical Guitar
Blog Posts

Andrés Segovia Documentary


Andrés Segovia Plays Bach, Sor, and Torroba in Classic Old Video


Andrés Segovia: Guitar Concerto N°1, Op.99 - Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco


J. S. BACH, Prelude, Bourrée BWV 996, Narciso YEPES, 10-string guitar


Sons de Carrillhoes, performed by Samantha C. Wells...


* J.S. BACH, Sarabande BWV 995, Viktor VAN NIEKERK, 10-String Guitar, classical guitar...


 * Robert de Visee - Petit Menuet (8 string guitar)...


Manuel Ponce - Scherzino Mexicano...


Segovia plays Bach's Chaconne (Read along)...



  • Classical Guitar Lessons
  • Beginner Classical Guitar Lessons
  • Classical Guitarists Bio's
  • Classical Guitar Composer Bio's
  • Classical Guitar Technique Instruction
  • Classical Guitar History Timeline
  • Tablature for Classical Guitar