Legato and Staccato


With legato style there are no variants in use. The note simply has to be sustained until the next note in the same voice is played. While playing the phrases in legato style at first may appear easier as there is no action to perform besides plucking the strings, it is also more prone to errors as the strings are never muted and every accidental touch of the string will be inevitably heard. This style was used by João Gilberto in the opening of Garota de Ipanema on Getz/Gilberto album from 1963 as illustrated below.


Other songs featured on this site played with legato include Insensatez that is played exclusively with legato, while Corcovado and Aos Pés Da Cruz are played mainly with legato, but with short staccato opening sections.


With staccato situation is a bit more complicated as depending on the duration of the note there are different types of staccato. In general we distinguish three distinct types of staccato. When the note is played with the shortest possible duration we speak of staccatissimo, if the note is played up to it's maximum duration but still muted before the next note we call it mezzo-staccato, while to all other cases we relate by using just staccato. Normal staccato is often considered to have duration of the half of the note's nominal value. Staccato is shown in example from Garota de Ipanema as played by João Gilberto on Getz/Gilberto album from 1963. The phrase in use is the second basic bossa nova phrase, as in Bim Bom, but played in a different way. Instead of tied chords Gilberto played chords on all main beats except the last one. All beats except the beat 4 of the second measure are played with staccato.


Other songs featured on this site played with staccato include A Felicidade, Bim Bom, Samba da Minha Terra, Só Danço Samba and Prá Machucar Meu Coração. Este Seu Olhar is played mainly with staccato, but with a short legato section in the middle of the song.

Video Lesson: Garota de Ipanema

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