Pip Eastop, Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Pip Eastop, hornplayer, teacher, horn, trumpet, jazz, sessions, London, soloist, orchestral, improvisation etc....

Posts tagged “slur

A slur is not a fast glissando

Since we have the words “slur” and “glissando“, we may as well use them precisely so that we can understand what we’re talking about with some precision.

How about these, for definitions:

A glissando is:  moving from one note to another of a different pitch, legato (joined – the sound does not stop) and allowing any notes en route between them to sound, whatever the speed.

A slur is:  moving from one note to another of a different pitch, legato (joined – the sound does not stop) and NOT allowing all the notes en route between them to sound, whatever the speed.

If this is correct, then difference between a slur and a glissando is the absence or presence of notes during the legato join from one note to the next  The glissando takes a little time and has stuff in it – the slur is as instant as possible and clean.

So how is this done?

First, though, how is it not done? 

I believe there are many hornplayers out there who think that a slur is simply a very fast glissando. I’ll try to show that this is not the case at all. 

Find a nice glissando – for arguments sake, let’s make it one which goes up through one octave, say, from D to D (from the bottom to the top of the treble clef). There should be three or four notes audible on the way up. Play this glissando in a fairly leisurely manner a few times and then, little by little, make the trip up go a little quicker.  Keep doing this until your glissando is a fast as you can possibly do it. 

It’s still a glissando, right? 

Now try slurring it. If you can slur it, cleanly, without the notes in between, then I think you have just proved that a slur is not a fast glissando. 

So, this naturally leads on to a very good question: how do you stop the “glissando” notes from sounding during a nice clean slur? In other words, how do you slur?

The way it’s done is a clever trick – and it’s a kind of illusion. I’ll write about it very soon…