Sul Tasto

On the fingerboard

"Sul Tasto" is an Italian term used in music to indicate a playing technique on string instruments. It specifically refers to placing the bow closer to the fingerboard of the instrument, resulting in a softer and more muted tone. The phrase Sul Tasto" translates to "on the fingerboard" in English.

When playing "Sul Tasto", the bow is positioned over the fingerboard, and the strings are lightly touched or pressed by the fingers. This technique produces a gentler and more delicate sound compared to playing directly over the strings. The proximity to the fingerboard dampens the vibrations of the strings, resulting in a subdued and ethereal quality.

"Sul Tasto" is often used to create a specific musical effect or atmosphere. It is commonly employed in passages that require a softer and more lyrical expression, adding a sense of warmth and intimacy to the sound. This technique is particularly prevalent in chamber music, solo performances, and expressive passages within larger orchestral compositions.

In sheet music, the indication for "Sul Tasto" is typically notated as "sul tasto" or simply "sul t." above the relevant passage. This notation serves as a directive for string players to employ the technique and achieve the desired tonal quality.

Example of Sul Tasto

Cello Technique - Sul Tasto