Definition and background:
In medieval notation, the ligature was a symbol indicating that two or more pitches should be joined together, indicating their pitches and rhythm. This symbol did not necessarily denote that the same syllable should be sung to those notes. The ligature was the early version of the beams used in modern notation. See also beam. A slur; a group of notes performed in one breath. In vocal music, a modern ligature denotes that a single syllable should be sung to two or more notes. Device used on woodwind instruments to hold the reed to the mouthpiece. The ligature is normally made of metal and acts as a clamp to hold the reed secure.Also known as a phrase mark. Usually appears in music for string instruments to indicate bowing.The band that secures the reed to the mouthpiece of wind instruments such as the clarinet and saxophone. Also a slur mark on a score, instructing a singer to sing two or more notes to a single syllable.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary