Articulating a Melody with Legato Embellishments

by Alex de Grassi

Hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides provide a great way to play notes legato, or connected to one another. They can also be used to con­nect grace notes to the primary notes of a musical line. These legato techniques can also be considered an articulation in themselves—especially when they are used to embellish a musical phrase.

Articulating a Melody ex2_3: Alex de Grassi Fingerstyle Method
Click to enlarge.

The melody in Example 2 is very plain, consisting of only half notes and quarter notes. Play it through a few times, using an alternating i–m pattern for the picking hand, and reversing the pattern to m–i on the repeat. In Example 3, embellishments have been added using hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides to create a more textured and articulated melody with a greater sense of movement and rhythm. Note that the fretting-hand fin­gering has changed in measures 5 and 6 to accommodate the slide, moving the hand into second position.

Excerpted from The Alex de Grassi Fingerstyle Guitar Method

Receive lessons, songs, advice, and news like this straight to your inbox