Terminology Common To All Guitar Music

(This page is by no means finished yet!)


Left hand fingering:

1 = index finger
2 = middle finger
3 = ring finger
4 = little finger
T = thumb

Right hand fingering:

p (pulgar) = thumb
i (indice) = index finger
m (mayor) = middle finger
a (anular) = ring finger
me (meñique) = little finger

The use of the right hand little finger is rarely seen outside of flamenco (rasgueado technique), the left hand thumb only in american "folk" styles.

Strings to be used are indicated by circled numerals or numerals in brackets from (6) to (1). (o) is used for any open string (the note value tells you which one). The (1) string is the "highest" (pitch) or "outside" treble string. On a 6 string instrument, strings (1) through (3) are known as the "treble" strings and (4) through (6) the "bass" strings. [Since guitar music is notated an octave higher than sounded, middle C is really on the (5) string, so that (4) is actually in the treble range.] On a 12 string guitar, the strings are grouped in pairs (called courses), so that (1) refers to strings 1 & 2, (6) refers to strings 11 & 12.

C5 : Cejilla or Barré. The number refers to the fret at which the Barré is placed. More commonly notated with roman numerals for the fret ie; CV

M.C3 : Media Cejilla, or Demi-Barré (Half-Barré), with the fret number. Also notated with "1/2" instead of the "M.", followed by a roman numeral.


Acorde : chord
adorno : ornament
al aire : open (string)
anular : ring finger
arreglo : arrangement
arrastre : glissé or slide
Bajo : bass
bemol : flat
bordones : the three bass strings
Caja : sound-box
Cejilla : Barré, the stopping of all or several strings at the same fret by the index finger of the left hand
copla : the versicle sung in flamenco, usually of octosyllabic lines.
cromática : chromatic
cuerda : string
Derecha : right (hand)
diapasón : finger-board: range or voice of instrument
digitación : fingering
Do : C
dominance : dominant
Ejereicio : exercise
escala : scale
Fa : F
Golpe (de caja) : tap with right hand on the sound-box
Hacia abajo : strum or stroke downwards (with reference to the ground)
hacia arriba : upwards
Indice : index finger
lzquierda : left (hand)
La : A
ligado : slur, or coulé; the combining of two or more notes in succession. In guitar playing ligado is the linking of one note with others by the action of the fingers of the left hand alone. Only the first note is plucked.
Mano : hand
mayor : major (key)
menor :minor
media cejilla : demi-barré
meñique : little finger (notated 'me').
Mi : E
Portamento : a slide and,slur combined
posición : the position or setting of the fingers of the left hand for playing of a chord, arpeggio or passage.
Rasgueo : Rasgueo or Rasgueado; the strumming of chords peculiar to the guitar in ascending or descending order of notes.


accord : chord
animé : animated
arpège : arpeggio
chanté : singing
chevalet (pont) : bridge
corde : string
diapson : fingerboard
doigt : finger
expressif : expressive
main : hand, main droit - right hand, main gauche - left hand
modédé : moderate