Technique: Legato and Lyricism


Ideas to help you grow your sound and articulate every note within each bow

Great players historically have understood how important the legato is. The ability to use the bow in legato forms the very basis of our technique; it influences the beginning, middle and end of every note, and the musical messages that we convey. This isn’t true only of string players: brass players move from one note to another under a slur in many different ways, and my judgement of pianists has entirely to do with legato. Famously, pianist Artur Schnabel played Mozart entirely without pedal, which he was only able to do using a fantastic finger legato. When I was a kid I was fascinated by the sound that wind instruments made in different styles under legato, how they moved from note to note, and how differently they might accomplish this in England, or Austria, or America.

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.