If you have ever heard staccato, chances are it may have struck you as odd. Staccato notes are notes that have been shortened and separated by a space. Be careful not to confuse staccato notes with dotted notes; depending on the height of the note, the dot will either be above or below the note.
The most important thing to pay attention to when playing a staccato note is your muting. You will not be muting with your fretting hand, which means do not lift your finger off the note early.
This will make unnecessary noise and make your fingering choppy. To play a staccato note there are a few techniques you need to learn. If you don’t know how to mute your strings with your picking hand yet, that’s okay; we’ll teach you.
After a short duration, take the side of your palm and press it to the strings. If you only muffled the nose, you pressed to hard. If you felt the strings digging into the tender flesh of your side-palm, you pressed too hard.
You want to place your palm just before the bridge as you would place your butt just before the back of a chair. Just like sitting in a chair, where your back rests against the chair’s back, you want to lean the back of your palm against the bridge slightly as well. This gives you stability. Your palm should simply rest upon the strings, not hover above, or press into them.
This is best done practicing with a metronome, starting in a 4/4 time signature and timing each note with the clicks. It is important that you get a feel for the note values because if you let your staccato notes ting out too long or too short your rests may also be too long and too short, and in turn this will throw off your playing.
If you play a staccato eighth note, you need to have a full understanding of the value of an eighth note because if you count the rest after a staccato note as part of the note, staccato notes do technically last their full value.
It is best you start off playing staccato notes along with a metronome, performing on the click, muting halfway to three quarters of the way to the next click.
Once you have mastered the muting technique, you fully understand note lengths, and you are able to perform staccato notes along with a metronome, try adding them to your own music. Staccato notes are not only strange, but they are dynamic as well.
Staccato notes may take you a little longer to master than legato notes, and that’s fine. In fact, it is normal. It is important that no matter what you pay attention to your technique because if you start using your fretting and to mute, or start going over your time signature because of incorrect note lengths, you will need to correct yourself to avoid developing a bad habit.
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