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Ian Harwood

[capo] (It., from capo: ‘head’, tasto: ‘tie or fret’; Fr. barre; Ger. Capotaster)

(1) Originally this term denoted the nut (see Nut) of a fretted instrument such as the lute or guitar; it is now generally used to describe a device to shorten the string length, thus facilitating upward transposition without altered fingering. (It is also the term used in Italian writings to describe the stopping of general strings at once by one finger; see Barré (i).) The construction of the capo tasto varies according to the instrument for which it is intended, but it comprises essentially a rigid bar covered with felt, leather or cork, together with some means of holding it pressed firmly against the fingerboard. This bar keeps the strings in contact with the required fret and may take the form of a length of gut tightened round the neck by a peg. The bar may now be held by a metal spring or a piece of elastic. On the English guitar the ...

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Echo  

Murray Campbell and Mary Térey-Smith

The repetition of sound after a short time interval. In addition to the applications discussed below the term is used for a signal-processing device (also known as a delay) that produces a slightly delayed playback of sounds either by a tape loop or by digital delay; see Electric guitar §2 .

See also Organ stop .

Natural echoes arise from the reflection of a sound wave by a solid surface, such as a wall or cliff. For the echo to be perceived as distinct from the original sound, the extra path length travelled by the reflected sound wave must have a minimum value of around 17 metres, corresponding to a minimum time interval of 50 milliseconds between direct and reflected sounds.

The reverberant sound field in a concert hall is created by multiple reflections of sound waves. In a well-designed hall, the direct sound reaching a member of the audience is followed by a series of reflections within a time interval of around 35 milliseconds. These ‘early delayed arrivals’ are not heard as separate echoes; because of the ‘precedence effect’ they are perceived as a reinforcement of the direct sound. Subsequent reflections blend smoothly into the reverberation. A concave surface, focussing sound waves into a particular part of the hall, can give rise to an audible echo; a ‘flutter echo’ can arise from successive reflections between parallel walls....

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Edwin M. Ripin

A term sometimes used today for the piano of the 18th and early 19th centuries in order to distinguish it from the 20th-century instrument. German writers sometimes use the terms ‘Hammerklavier’ and ‘Hammerflügel’ for the same purpose. See Pianoforte §I 1., Pianoforte §I 6., Pianoforte §I 7., Pianoforte §I 8....

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Gerhard Kubik

Term coined by Gerhard Kubik in 1965 for a type of acoustic guitar music that had developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s along the Copperbelt mining area in Katanga (southern Belgian Congo) and Northern Rhodesia. Its main exponents include the guitar music composers Mwenda Jean Bosco, Losta Abelo, Edouard Masengo and others (Low, 1982). Hugh Tracey's comprehensive coverage of this style cluster (see Guitar 1 and 2, Decca 1170 and 1171) exerted considerable influence on the rise of popular music in Central and East Africa.

The Katanga guitar style embraces a stylistic conglomerate characteristic of a distinctive time period within which the most diverse individual forms and innovations became possible. Between 1946 and 1962 developments and mutations occurred prolifically, and this kind of music reached its peak of popularity. It was performed in a variety of township languages, including Ciluba (Luba), Lunda, Icibemba (e.g. Aushi) and, most important, Kingwana (‘Congo Kiswahili’). The social environment of its exponents was that of mine workers and persons working for the Belgian colonial administration. Beginning in ...

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Tony Bacon

A development of the lap steel guitar ( see Hawaiian guitar ) in which the application of pedals enables the player to change instantaneously from one tuning to another. As performing technique developed, players of the Hawaiian guitar came to depend on using a variety of open tunings. In order to be able to move between these tunings at will, players began to use instruments with more than one neck. However, this meant that instruments became increasingly unwieldy as more necks were added. In the 1940s makers such as Bigsby in California and Epiphone in New York started to offer a solution by limiting the number of necks to two but adding pedals which, attached to a system of ‘changers’ and ‘fingers’ on the instrument, would enable the player to alter tunings as desired. At first players were happy to operate the systems as designed, using the pedals to move to new tunings as if they had changed necks. But gradually guitarists adapted the system to provide some novel musical effects, and used the pedals to change the pitch of one string while another was sounding. One of the first recorded examples of this ‘slurring’ effect, which is now considered to be the pedal steel guitar’s most characteristic sound, is featured in a solo played by Bud Isaacs on Webb Pierce’s ...

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Picada  

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Portato  

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Pousser  

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Puntato  

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James Tyler

(Sp.; Fr. pincé; It. pizzicato)

The modern term for the technique of plucking the strings of a guitar with the fingertips or nails of the right hand. Historically, the manner of playing derives from lute technique, and was used by baroque guitarists in conjunction with strumming technique ( see Rasgueado ). The Italian term pizzicato was the one used most widely in the Baroque era, since Italian guitarists were the main developers of the technique and repertory for the instrument in that period (...

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Robert Strizich

revised by James Tyler

[golpeado] (Sp.; It. battuto; Fr. batterie)

Term used to describe the technique of strumming the strings of the guitar in a downward or upward direction with the thumb, or other fingers of the right hand. The term rasgueado was used most commonly from the late 19th century, while, historically, the Italian term battuto or the Spanish golpeado was used in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Strumming has been an important component of guitar playing from at least the 16th century, when Juan Bermudo (Declaración de instrumentos musicales, Osuna, 1555, f.28v) mentioned, in reference to the four-course guitar, that música golpeada (‘struck music’) was old-fashioned. The exact nature of this 16th-century strumming technique is uncertain. However, by the beginning of the 17th century guitarists began to devise ways of notating it: the direction in which full five-course chords were to be strummed was shown by small vertical lines extending either above or below a single horizontal line – a downward line indicating a strum in a downward direction, and an upward line indicating an upward strum. Notes indicating exact rhythmic values of the strums were often added above the horizontal line. After the middle of the 17th century, when guitarists adopted a five-line staff for the notation of their works, strokes were indicated in two different ways depending on the type of tablature used: in Italian tablature, by small vertical lines extending either above or below the lowest line of the staff; in French tablature, by a note written within the staff, of which the value and direction of the stem indicated respectively the time-value and direction of the strum....

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David D. Boyden

revised by Peter Walls

(Fr.; Ger. Springbogen; It. saltando, saltato)

A bowstroke played rapidly in the middle of the bow, one bowstroke per note, so that the bow bounces very slightly off the string of its own accord. It is not indicated in any consistent manner: sometimes dots are placed above or below the notes, sometimes arrow-head strokes, and sometimes the stroke is simply left to the performer's discretion. ‘Spiccato’ and ‘sautillé’ are sometimes used as synonyms, though ...