Definition of col legno in US English:

col legno


  • (of a passage of music for a bowed instrument) played by hitting the strings with the back of the bow.

    • ‘I took the strings to their extremes, using lots of pizzicato and col legno [in which the wood of the bow is used to create a harsh sound].’
    • ‘‘Jovial Jig’: using the same basic material as ‘Fairy Frolics’, the finale is a compendium of colour effects - snap pizzicato, col legno, sul ponticello, guitar-like strumming.’
    • ‘The attack (the initial transient) is not so rapid as in col legno, because the bow hair is softer than the wood.’


Italian, ‘with the wood (of the bow)’.


col legno

/ˌkōl ˈlānyō/