Slurs are an essential part of classical guitar playing. The slur is simply a way of playing two or more consecutive notes in one smooth, connected movement. There are two types of slurs: ascending and descending. In this article, we will be talking about ascending slurs. In general, the slurs in the classical guitar are indicated with a dashed curved line (Fig.1) on top or below two notes, or a group of notes.
However, in many editions, you can see the solid curved line instead, which means the same, do not get confused. Below (Fig. 2)is an example of Fernando Carulli (1770-1841) Sonata in A major, Edited by Martin Ratz “Klassiker der Gitarre” book 1, Veb Deutscher Verlag für Musik Leipzig – 1978.
That indicates that the notes have to be played by using a slur technique. The slurs are used to indicate that the notes should be played Legato, but also using the “slur technique”. This means we play the notes with the minimum distance in between as smooth as possible. With the Slur technique, we can play the notes in the smoothest possible way. So, let’s get into the ascending slurs.
Ascending slurs (Hammer-ons)
This type of slur is created by “hammering” one left-hand finger down onto the string to create a note. A right-hand finger sounds the first note, let’s say “B” string then a left-hand finger hammers the second note into its place on the fretboard thus producing the second sound by using only the left hand. For example:
If the notes (Fig. 3) B and C on string 2 have a dashed curved line above them that means this is a slur. Play the B note with any finger of your right hand, until the string sounds hammer the C note with the tip of your left-hand first finger. This example was a situation when the first note is an open string.
If the first note is “C” for example (Fig.4) and the second note is “D”.
Play the “C” note as normal, Continue to keep it, and as it sounds in the needed time hammer the “D” note with your left-hand third finger.
More than two notes
In case there are three or more slurred notes (Fig. 5)in the ascending direction
Play only the first note with your right hand and hummer the others in succession when the time of each one comes. Make sure in the time of hammering to hold down the previous note. In some situations, you may end up holding all of them down. There is no right and wrong here all depends on what is the context, at what speed the notes should sound, etc.
there is another type of slur which is also a hammer-on but, in theory, it can be ascending as well as descending. see Fig. 6. In this example, the slurred note in all four couples of notes is on a different string.
The difference between the other examples and this particular one is that the note you need to hammer does not sound initially. The note you need to hammer is on a different string lower or higher. You should activate it by hammering it with the corresponding finger. With this technique, you can produce descending slurs by using hammer-ons i. e. accending slurs technique. But as we said, with this type of slur (hammer-on) you can execute ascending as well as descending slurs.
Double ascending slurs
In another case, the ascending slurs can be also with double notes,
In the example above (Fig.7) you can see double ascending slurs in beat one. However, in beat two, there is a descending slur where the notes “G” and “E” are open strings, while the notes F and D are on strings four and two. To play the beat two, Play G and E, and afterward, use the hammer-on technique for the notes F and D. Even though this slur is descending, to execute it you should use hammer-on i.e. ascending slurs technique.
Ascending slurs exercises:
There are plenty of resources about accending slurs. Nevertheless, we can mention a few sources:
Scot Tennant Pumping Nylon
Abel Carlevaro Serie Didactica Guaderno No. 4
without a doubt slurs ar an essential part of
I hope this article helped you to understand more about ascending slurs on classical guitar. If you wish to know more about ascending slurs let us know in the comments. Contact us for a free trial guitar lesson