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In this classical guitar piece, a note is given a finger marking of -4:

sheet music

To play this passage, am I correct in assuming you would:

  1. Play the first note of the passage (B) with your third finger.
  2. Play the note marked 4 (C#) with your pinky.
  3. Move your hand down and play the note marked -4 (B) with your pinky again?

If that's the case, why bother marking the note with -4? Why not just mark it as 4?

1 Answer 1

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The dash signifies a guide. The L.H. fourth finger (pinky) moves down from the 9th fret C# to the 7th fret B. Although it might seem obvious that both notes are with the fourth finger, when sight-reading the dash makes quite a lot of difference; just that one extra bit of information helps you to know that you are playing both notes with the same finger, but moving that finger along the string.

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  • Not seen that before. Almost seems like it could be played as a slide down, although there's no slur; as it's fairly quick. Nice to see you back answering.
    – Tim
    Jul 8, 2017 at 7:17
  • It would have been more clear in the notation if it was represented more like "4--4" instead of "4 -4" Jul 9, 2017 at 18:09
  • Maybe, but it's a commonly used convention as it's written, and as I say, once you're used to it, it makes reading a lot easier. Jul 9, 2017 at 21:37

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