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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.

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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.

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  • 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
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 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. Commented Jan 9, 2018 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
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 13:20

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