Slurring is the technique of playing multiple notes with only one stroke. When played well, it brings a beautiful connected “legato” quality to the musical line. The right hand sounds the first note and additional notes are sounded by left-hand fingers. The technique is thoroughly demonstrated in the following video:
One of the biggest challenges playing slurs is to keep them rhythmically correct. For example, slurred eighth notes must sound precisely in time, and not unequal in length.
In addition, strive when possible to make slurred notes equal in volume to the right hand’s first sounding note. In the case of an upward slur, move your fingers swiftly with downward momentum to “hammer” against the fret
Slur 4-2 is an easy duet, playable for student and teacher or for two students. Both parts are written in the open position in a dialogue format where the parts combined create accompaniment and melody. Consider the opening measures:
In addition, there is a dialogue in the slurring that creates a continuous undulating rhythmic accompaniment.:
Notice there is a melody that arises between the dialogue of quarter notes (circled):
When playing, listen carefully to the interaction of parts and strive to connect the two interlocking elements for musical continuity. Players may want to rest stroke the quarter notes to help bring out the melodic line.
Slureal is an intermediate solo that focusses on a variety of slurring (both 2-note and 3-note) as well as some glissando. The piece begins with eighth- note slurring and a rhythmic hemiola articulated by the (accented) slur on the “&” of 2:
At m. 5 the pattern is modified with an added bass note and slurred 16th notes. The marking simile, means to continue the hemiola accent on the “&” of 2.
The glissando at mm.19-20 (shown by the diagonal lines connecting note heads) means the left-hand finger slides along the string to produce a “sliding” sound The glissando here should be rhythmically expressed–evenly as two eigth notes.
At m. 23-24, a 3-note slur is indicated, meaning that all three notes are articulated by one stroke of the right hand finger. Consider isolating the three-note slur without the bass to rhythmically clarify.
For more information on slurs, hemiola, and glissando, see the Shearer Method Classic Guitar Developments, Book II