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date: 20 January 2020

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

  • 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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Journal of the Lute Society of America