On Legato Playing -  Make The Piano Sing
A free tonebase pdf

On Legato Playing - Make The Piano Sing

As pianists, we have to work especially hard to play in a legato style. When we depress a key at the piano, the resulting sound immediately fades. Even when we depress the sustain pedal, the sound will eventually die. As a result, we have to find creative ways of achieving a legato sound. This PDF explores how Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt approached legato playing as performers and pedagogues.

  • Beethoven encouraged his students to make the piano 'sing.'
  • Liszt instructed students to use the 'palm' of their fingers.
  • Clementi used 'finger pedaling' to ensure connected musical phrases.
Muzio Clementi
The best rule is to adhere chiefly to the legato, reserving the staccato to give spirit occasionally to certain passages, and to set off the higher beauty of the legato.
Muzio Clementi
What you will learn


In Italian, legato literally means 'tied' or 'bound.' In music, legato is a term that instructs us to play in a smooth, connected style with no audible breaks between notes. In this way, legato is a kind of articulation, often contrasted with staccato ('detached') articulation. While we have to master all kinds of articulations as pianists, we are already well on our way to success if we begin by practicing our legato!

  • Finger Placement
  • Matching Decay
  • 'Finger Pedaling'
  • Learn More In The PDF...

On Legato Playing -  Make The Piano Sing
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