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No, not in the sense of instruments or physical equipment!
This mini-masterclass is about the facets of music we can use to turn a score from "a pile of notes" into "a piece of music".
Every single note and every phrase made up of a sequence of notes has features that we as musicians, and that we as guitarists, can alter to improve the musicality...
These four characteristics place the note uniquely in the sound-canvas you are creating...
And we, as players, can tailor these a little...
Pitch - we can add vibrato to long notes to make them sound more compelling - see my Vibrato teach-in
Length - we can shorten notes or make them smoother via snaps & hammers - see my Articulation teach-in
Volume - we can accent individual notes
Tone - unlike most other instruments we can
Vary our tone (pianos can’t for example)
Vary it independently of volume (most wind instruments can’t) by moving the right hand to the bridge or fingerboard
Pitch - not much we can change here - pitch defines the melody - but we can gliss between notes
Length - we can change the speed of a phrase - stepwise or gradually faster or slower - see my Italian Terms teach-in
Volume - we can change the volume of a piece stepwise or gradually louder or quieter
Tone - we can alter the tone - especially effective to delineate a repeat
As musicians, rather than technicians, we try to add these devices to every piece we play...
|Per note…||Sudden changes…||Gradual changes...|
vib - vibrato
|Step changes in pitch
We can connect 2 notes with a glissando or slide. Not really a step change, but it's used suddenly for effect, not all the time
staccato or a . - shorter
legato or a slur - longer
|Step changes in speed
MM (Metronome Mark) or an Italian word such as Largo, Presto
|Gradual changes in speed
accel (accelerando) - getting faster
rall (rallentando) - getting slower
> - accent
|Step changes in volume
pp - pianissimo p - piano mp - mezzo piano
mf - mezzo forte f - forte ff - fortissimo
|Gradual changes in volume
cresc (crescendo) or opening hairpin - getting louder
dim (diminuendo) or closing hairpin - getting quieter
Apoyando - for strong notes
Tirando - for arpeggios
|Step changes in tone
Sul ponti - near the bridge
Sul tasto - over the fingerboard
There are other devices too (like pizzicato for length) that are more rarely used.
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