Muting Bass Strings at Cadences

Lesson: Muting Bass Strings at Cadences on Classical Guitar. In this lesson I cover two right hand techniques for muting bass strings at cadences and the ends of phrases and pieces. Theory aside, at the ends of phrases and pieces in certain keys it not uncommon to have two open strings sustaining at the same time. In order to refine the sound you’ll want to mute the previous bass so only the written chord tones sustain. You want to become the master of sound, the orchestrator, the conductor. Don’t let your instrument always decide what will sustain. That said, the percussive nature of the guitar and low levels of sustain, as well as stylistic and historical awareness, means that we don’t always need to mute. However, it’s something you can actively start listening for now.

Beginner students need not worry about this technique but intermediate players can begin by muting notes at the ends of pieces. At later levels players can consider muting at cadences or throughout the phrases or entire piece. It really depends on the context of the piece, your level, and the musical aesthetic you’ve chosen. After practicing the techniques for a considerable amount it will become part of your muscle memory and require much less focus and attention. Here’s the YouTube link if you want to watch the video there.

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