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What does the curl do? What does the curl do to the two notes that it connects? What does it mean? I tried googling curl with music notes but nothing relevant came up.


Slur is the word ! Or legato.It kind of joins the notes together. Imagine when you speak, the next word is almost joined to the last, without an audible gap. Or if the notes were played on a trumpet, they would be in the same breath, with no tonguing on the second note.

Sometimes a slur mark will go over several notes, telling the player that they will come out as a phrase - almost like a sentence - in one go, sequentially.

Not to be confused with a tie, which looks identical, but joins notes that are the same pitch.

  • Slurs and ties are very much the same thing. They mean 'progress smoothly to the next note'. And if it's the SAME note, the ultimate smoothness is to just hold it on! Use the right one in notation software though, else you'll confuse the playback function. And the appearance in printed notation can be subtly different. – Laurence Payne Jan 9 '18 at 12:57
  • @LaurencePayne you are incorrect there. Tied notes typically, but not always, are played without any metric emphasis, while slurred notes may well have a slight emphasis on new pitches. Further, this marking can also be purely phrasing, with additional markings such as tenuto added to indicate the desired attacks. – Carl Witthoft Jan 9 '18 at 13:18
  • That is why they are very much the same thing, not exactly the same thing! Though I'd dispute that a tie ever requires emphasis on the second note. We could discuss the special use string players make of slurs and other artictlations of course... – Laurence Payne Jan 9 '18 at 13:20

This is at least the third utterly basic question about music notation you ask (previous questions asked why some adjacent notes in a system were half steps and some whole steps, and what an augmentation dot after a notehead means).

There are a number of online as well as offline introductions into music notation that would make sense consulting before cluttering StackExchange with questions that do not improve the site since the same search terms you'd need for finding them will work fine with a web search, and you'll encounter all of them in any short introduction into notation anyway.

  • I think you're right that the OP could use some basic education. However, that an answer can be had by googling does not automatically make it off topic for this site (or any SE site). – Wayne Conrad Jan 9 '18 at 15:50

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