What is legato different from glissando?

What is legato different from glissando?

  • Yes, there is, of course, a difference, but perceptible only to musically educated people. And, I would say, not only in the resulting sound, but also in the technique of performance, and in solfeggio.

    By the way, glissando is often more like portamento (if performed with a voice) than legato. But this is by the way.


    When a musician performs glissando, he does it either by smoothly sliding his fingers along the neck, along the strings. If you are using a piano, but glissandos are performed on nm by sliding your finger along a row of white keys. Please note: glissando can merge aurally into a single sound. But at the same time it consists of a number of sounds, smoothly passing into each other.

    Bring the child to the piano and he will immediately learn how to play glissando. This will be his favorite prim. 🙂


    А legally - this is that group of sounds (also passing into each other), which in the notes are certainly united by the so-called league. Not every glissando is separated by a league.

    And legato is very often played with fluency enhancement. For example, a violinist performs a one-bow legato. That is, either one upward movement or one downward movement. One hand glides over the bar, achieving smoothness, the other doubles the e.


    I hope that at least some difference is still caught. 🙂

  • The difference between legato and glissando is fundamental. I had to play both the violin and the piano (for a very long time).

    So, legally: the author composed some notes, which ones depend on his muse, and then decided that they should be played or sung smoothly. If on a violin, then you should pick up the entire "bed" of notes with one movement of the bow without stopping. In practice, this means that there are not even micro-pauses between the sounding of each note. Our ear understands much more than we can explain in words, it catches even tiny "holes" between sounds.

    The simplest example is the theme of "Barcarole" by P. I. Tchaikovsky ("Seasons, June"), which everyone knows

    Glissando: the author dates sound A and sound B, but you need to play it as if we were flying in an airplane and picking up all intermediate sounds along the way. On the violin, you have to slide your finger along the string, and on the keyboards, you have to walk your fingers along all the keys from "point A" to "point B".

    To make it simple and fun to understand, I propose a very funny song:

    Depeche Mode - I Just Cant Get Enough (1981)

    Glissando starts at about 2:14 and lasts until 2:16. This is the only "smooth transition" in the entire song. There is not a single legato in this piece.

  • From a physical point of view, both techniques are similar and consist in the fact that, for example, for a guitar, after extracting a sound, the length of the string changes. When extracting a sound by the legato method, the sound is extracted with one finger held down, and is changed by hitting the pad of the other finger on the other fret, and the first finger is not removed. Thus, legato can be played within two or three frets - where the fingers can reach. The glissando technique is played in a different way: a sound is produced at a certain fret, and then the sounding string is shortened by moving your finger along the frets. In both cases, there is a smooth transition of sound as the length of the already sounding string changes.

  • These two terms differ from each other in that legatto is a smooth sounding of sounds in which different fingers are involved. For example: 1st-thumb, 2nd-index, 3rd-middle, 4th-ring and 5 -th-finger. under this numbering the fingers are indicated in music. And glissando - this term means a smooth glide from one sound to another. In this case, the back of the finger or several is involved, i.e. put our fingers on the note with which the beginning of the glissando is indicated and swipe all over the keyboard to the note where it should end.

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