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Rasgueado (from Spanish rasgar , this from Latin resecare , Andalusian Rasgueo , rasgueo : "tear", as a technical term: "plucking strings"), English also known as strumming , is the name for various striking techniques of the guitar, which are mainly used in the Spanish flamenco guitar use and where all or more strings are struck. The characteristic of this technique lies in the long-lasting, pearly-rolling rhythm that is generated by the coordinated and time-shifted downward movement of several fingers. In other rasguead techniques, the fingers are also moved in opposite directions and the thumb is used.

used abbreviations

To simplify the presentation, the internationally common abbreviations for the touch hand are used below:

Thumb: p (from Spanish pulgar ) Index
finger: i (from índice )
Middle finger: m (from medio )
Ring finger: a (from anulario ) Little
finger: c (from chico )

Execution and strike pattern using the example of the flamenco guitar

The finger stops come from the base joint ("root joint") and are executed as a tee shot . For strike patterns that begin with the little finger, the execution is as follows: First the little finger strikes the strings, then the ring finger begins with the next downward strike. The rest of the fingers (apart from the thumb) follow this pattern. When the index finger makes its stop, the little finger goes back to its starting position in order to ensure rhythmic evenness in the event of a repetition of the rasgueado. The sequence of the rasgueados described above can therefore be noted in abbreviated form as " cami ".

Often the downward stroke of the index finger is followed by an upward stroke of the same finger, whereupon the cycle begins again with the downward movement of the little finger, which creates a so-called quintillo , a rasgueado with five strokes: c - a - m - i (dev.) - i (up.)
A percussive effect is achieved by “pinching” the fingers on the thumb and then “flicking” them downwards with pressure ( martellato : “hammered”).

Besides the cami -Rasgueado and quintillo which are used especially in traditional flamenco, there are other options. For example, players of the younger generation prefer rasgueados without using the little finger, e.g. B. the formula amii (the last stop is a surcharge). A tresillo (Spanish for triplet ) is a three-part rasgueado, e.g. B. in the form aii (execution: tee-tee-surcharge), which is also in rhythmic form ( a caballo / acaballado : long-short-short) z. B. is used to accompany fast flamenco dances , such as tangos , sevillanas or fandangos .

Using the thumb in a rasgueado movement requires increased involvement of the forearm in the form of a fan-like rotational movement. These rasgueados are therefore known as abanico (Spanish for "fan") and are usually designed as tresillo , e.g. B. in the sequence p-ma-p : serve with the thumb nail strike the closed finger strike of the thumb. Due to its powerful sound and the rhythmic density created by a continuous repetition of the attack pattern , this rasguead form is often used to mark a formal section (Spanish : cierre : conclusion).

The rasgueado on the baroque guitar (17th and 18th centuries)

The rasgueado as a popular technique for crossing the strings with the nail side of the fingers when playing simple chords, in contrast to the style of playing known as punteado , i. H. the selective plucking of one or more strings with the dome side of the fingers, and the more differentiated compositional style made possible by this, was first mentioned in textbooks and collections for the baroque guitar at the end of the 16th century, for example in the Libro de cartas y romances espanoles del Illustrissima Senora Duchessa di Traetta from 1599. Sources from the second half of the 18th century include the publications of Gaspar Sanz and his contemporaries, such as Santiago de Murcia and Lucas Ruíz de Ribayas , whose compilation from 1677 largely consists of compositions used by Gaspar Sanz. To simplify the representation of the chords used in rasgueado playing, the Alfabeto (a fingering notation) was invented around 1600 , with each chord being assigned a letter. The direction in which the fingers were struck was indicated below the Alfabeto notation by lines notated above or below a separate line, and in the case of tablature notation also by the direction of the note values.

Examples of the use of the baroque rasgueado technique as a playing manner integrated in compositions of the punteado style can be found e.g. B. with Johann Anton Losy von Losinthal , or with Ludovico Roncalli .

The rasgueado in contemporary guitar music of the 20th century

In addition to rasgueado passages in the guitar works of Spanish composers such as Joaquín Rodrigo or Joaquín Turina , some of which were intended as a deliberate reminiscence of the tradition of the flamenco guitar, numerous composers subsequently used the rasgueado technique as an independent sound device. But seldom has this been done so consistently and structurally as by the French composer Tristan Murail in his ten-minute composition "Tellur" from 1977, which was premiered by the dedicatee Rafael Andia .


  • José de Azpiazu: Tecnica del Rasgueado (Rasgueado Technique). Simple and continuous rasgueado. G. Ricord & Co., Munich.
  • Ivor Mairants: The Flamenco Guitar. A complete method for playing flamenco. Latin-American Music Publishing, London 1958, pp. 58-61 ( Rasgueados ).
  • Gerhard Graf-Martinez : Flamenco guitar school . tape 1 : Teaching and reference work . Schott, Mainz 1994, ISBN 3-7957-5083-0 .
  • Nitin Arora: Rasgueados Are for Everyone (1996), Visual Dictionary (step-by-step photos of all the basic patterns), 52 pages. ( Available online as a PDF file )

Web links

Wikibooks: Guitar  - Learning and Teaching Materials


  1. DRAE Diccionario de la Academía Real de España, accessed on July 24, 2020.
  2. The PONS dictionary (online) translates rasgueado imprecisely as "striking (the strings)". For the Andalusian variant rasgueo , the translation "arpeggiate" is also offered, which, however, does not correspond to the Spanish usage, nor to the technical and musical facts of the arpeggio .
  3. Wolfgang Gerhard: Technical aspects of Flamenco. In: Guitar & Lute. Volume 1, Issue 3, 1979, pp. 34-39, here: pp. 36 f.
  4. There is no uniform abbreviation for the abbreviation of the little finger , other spellings are q or ñ (from Spanish meñique : little finger)
  5. The stroke direction of the fingers when struck from the low to the high strings is referred to as the downstroke , in the opposite direction as the upstroke .
  6. Gerhard Graf-Martinez : Flamenco guitar school . tape 1 : Teaching and reference work . Schott, Mainz 1994, ISBN 3-7957-5083-0 , p. 15th f .
  7. The abbreviation ma is related to a rasgueado for mano : hand, which means the simultaneous knocking off of the fingers that are held closed.
  8. PDF by Monica Hall , a short article on the first sources of the Alfabeto
  9. Jerry Willard (Ed.): The complete works of Gaspar Sanz. 2 volumes, Amsco Publications, New York 2006 (translation of the original manuscript by Marko Miletich), ISBN 978-082561-695-2 , volume 2, p. 12.
  10. Gerhard Klingenstein (interviewing and translation): There is no serious music or not serious music ...: Interview with Jorge Cardoso . In: Guitar & Lute. Volume 7, Heft 5, 1985, pp. 14-18, here: p. 16.
  11. See also Frank Koonce: The Baroque Guitar in Spain and the New World: Gaspar Sanz, Antonio de Santa Cruz, Francisco Guerau, Santiago de Murcia. Mel Bay Publications, Pacific, Mon. 2006, ISBN 978-078-667-525-8 , pp. 10 f. and 22 f.
  12. ^ Adalbert Quadt : Guitar music from the 16th to 18th centuries Century. According to tablature ed. by Adalbert Quadt. Volume 1-4. Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1970 ff .; 2nd edition ibid 1975–1984, foreword (1970).
  13. Hubert Zanoskar (ed.): Guitar playing of old masters. Original music from the 16th and 17th centuries. Volume 1. B. Schott's Sons, Mainz 1955 (= Edition Schott. Volume 4620), pp. 11 and 24.
  14. Adalbert Quadt (ed.): Guitar music from the 16th to 18th centuries Century. 4 volumes. Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1970–1984, Volume 4, pp. 1, 4, 7, 10 and 14.
  15. See also Sylvia Murphy: Seventeenth-Century Guitar Music: Notes on “Rasgueado” performance. In: Galpin Society Journal. Volume 21, 1968, pp. 24-32.
  16. Tristam Murail's website. Comments by the composer on "Tellurium" with discography, accessed on July 25, 2020.
  17. YT video Rafael Andia interprets "Tellurium" by Tristan Murail (1977), accessed on July 25, 2020.