Guitar Notation and Dynamics

  • Hammer On – the act of pressing down a finger very hard and very fast so that the fret note sounds out. 
  • Pull Off – the fretting hand finger pulls off the top of a string causing the string to vibrate and make sound. 
  • Hammer Ons and Pull Offs (also designated by letters H for Hammer and P for Pull Off).   

  • Slide – holding the fretting finger down and keeping pressure on a string while sliding to the next note.  After sliding to the next note the string is picked again.  The sliding movement is audible.
  • Legato Slide – Picking the first note, then sliding to the next note but not picking the next note.
  • Tapping – using the strumming hand, a finger is pressed down behind a Fret very quickly.  The force of the finger causes the Fretted Note to sound.
  • Down Stroke or Downstroke – the act of striking or strumming the strings with a downward motion.
  • Up Stroke – or Upstroke – the act of striking or strumming the strings with an upward motion.
  • Vibrato – A Vibrato effect is moving the Pitch of the note up and Down quickly, either by using the Fretting Hand Fingers or the Guitar Tremolo.

Downstroke

Upstroke

Music Notation Dynamics

  • Dynamic Signs state how loud or soft notes are played.  You can listen to the Audio of the example.  
  •  ppp = Pianississimo  (Soft Whisper)
  •  pp = Pianissimo (Very Soft)
  •  P = Piano (Soft)
  •  mp = Mezzo Piano (moderate or moderate soft)
  • mf = Mezzo Forte (moderate loud)
  • f = Forte (loud)
  • ff = Fortissimo (Very Loud)
  • fff = (Very very Loud)