"On the", "Over the", "At the", "Near the"

"Sul" is an Italian term used in music notation, meaning "on" or "over", primarily in the context of string instruments, such as the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. It is typically followed by another word to specify how the performer should play. Here are some common examples:

  • Sul G (On the G string): In the context of the violin or viola, "Sul G" means to play on the G string. This is a specific indication, emphasizing that a certain passage or section should be played on the lowest-pitched string.
  • Sul Ponticello (On the bridge): This indication means that the performer should play near the instrument's bridge. When played "Sul Ponticello", the sound becomes thin, glassy, and sometimes eerie. It is often used in music to create a unique, metallic tone color.
  • Sul Tasto (On the fingerboard): This term instructs the performer to bow or pluck the strings of a string instrument over the fingerboard or the area where the strings are fingered. The resulting sound is soft and flute-like, often used to create an ethereal or delicate texture in the music.

These indications are crucial for string players as they provide guidance on how a passage should be played to achieve the desired timbre or effect in a piece of music.

Example of Sul

How-To Sul Ponticello and Sul Tasto on the Violin with James Ehnes