Legato as an articulation is needed, because it is not the default "goes without saying" articulation, at least not universally for all instruments and styles. And legato slurs are needed to show which notes should be played as a single phrase, which couldn't be done by writing a single word "legato" somewhere. If you listen to players ...


Probably more to do with phrasing. From beginning to end of a legato phrase, all the notes will be joined 'in one breath', but at some point, that phrase will end, and a new one start. Those end and start notes won't be legato. There are several stages between staccato and legato, so it's rarely one or the other.


On many instruments, connected notes do not have to be attacked. On those instruments, a slur means to only attack the first note in the group. For example, on the flute, one would only tongue the first note in a slur. With instruments like piano, there are several possibilities: Phrasing. Legato not only means connected notes, but also notes diminishing in ...

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