Advanced Slurring

Sounding two notes with a single R.H. stroke is called slurring.  Basic slurring involves the R.H. striking the 1st note and the L. H. articulating the 2nd note on the fingerboard.  These can be upward slurs (hammer-ons) or downward slurs (pull-offs).  For complete info, see Guitar Slurring.

In this article, we’ll cover two other kinds of slurring:

  • Delayed Slurring
  • Group Slurring

Slur-gato (Advanced Slurring)

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Delayed Slurring

Delayed slurring is simply that….a delay of the left-hand articulation involving multiple strings.  The right hand plays the slur-from-note on a string, then plays a note on another string, after which, the left hand plays the slur-to-note.  Delyaed slurs are indicated with a dotted curved line.

The goal for delayed slurring is to make them rhythmically accurate…

… and balanced in volume.

Group Slurring

Group slurring is simply slurring more than 2 notes with one R.H. stroke.  Obviously, the more notes in the slur, the greater the need for left-hand coordination, especially if the group invloves both upward and downward slurs (hammer-ons and pull-offs).  

In this example, there is an upward slur, immediately followed by a downward slur.  As with delayed slurring, the goal is to play rhythmically accurate and to balance the volume of all notes in the group.

Slur-gato notes

Sostenuto e rubato

Slur-gato is a intermediate-level study for slurring and playing legato (connected in sound).   In addition to legato sluring, the music should be played with much sostenuto (sustain) and rubato (flexible tempo).  Sostenuto can be achieved by holding L.H. fingers down longer than their actual written values.  The effect is similar in piano when holding down the sustain pedal.

For example, the “F” on in mm. 2 and 4…

Should be held as long as possible within the measures.  Interpreted this way:

At m. 4, ritenuto means to hold the tempo back slightly.  This is immediatley followed at m. 5 with the marking tempo, meaning to resume tempo.  Markings like these suggest rubato, making an ebb and flow in the tempo.  For more on rubato, see Rubato and Glissando.

Grace-Note interpretations

Grace notes throught the piece are mostly played before the beat.  For example:


should be played like this:

But beginning at m. 29, there is a repetitive grace-note pattern which should be played on the beat.


should be played like this:

For more on Grace notes, see the article Ornamentation  in the Book II online supplement.  For more on Slurring, see pp. 52-3 and elsewhere in The Shearer Method Classical Guitar Developments, Book II

Also, check out Bradford Werner’s Video on Slurring that includes information on group slurring


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