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Posted By: trickybilly How to play this trill? - 03/28/22 09:09 AM
I have read that the (tr) sign in sheet music is a trill which means changing fast two notes. My question is: which notes should I play as a trill in the following example, how many times, how fast:
https://ibb.co/GPmmNq
Posted By: Sam S Re: How to play this trill? - 03/28/22 09:51 AM
Your link is not working, at least not for me. Trills involve 2 notes - the written note and the upper note. In Baroque music, you generally start on the upper note. Sometime after 1750 or so, the style switched to starting on the lower note. There is no definite date when this happened. Usually trills are "measured", meaning you play some number of notes that fits in time. What you do is really up to you. Are you taking an exam? Then you probably have to play what is expected. Is it important to you to play in the correct historical style? Then stick to the appropriate style.

Ultimately though - does it sound good to you? That is what is important. Smooth, no hesitations or obvious irregularities, one note is not louder than the other, one note is not longer than the other...

Sam
Posted By: trickybilly Re: How to play this trill? - 03/28/22 03:12 PM
Thank you for your answer. The song is G major Menuet, KV 1 from Mozart
I try to reupload the image:
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Posted By: Sam S Re: How to play this trill? - 03/28/22 04:03 PM
That's very early Mozart. - what was he - 5 years old? I would start on the upper note.

Here are some options:

six notes. F# E F# E F# E
six notes including turn. F# E F# E D E
eight notes. F# E F# E F# E F# E
eight notes including turn. F# E F# E F# E D E

All of these take one beat, going to the D on the next beat. Use a metronome to make sure you aren't taking too much time.

Sam
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 02:02 AM
Ha! I'm working on this piece right now and this particular trill is a challenge for me as well (to bring it up to the tempo I want). Following my teacher's suggestion, I'm playing it as:

E F# E F# E D E

I like how it sounds this way. I'm using the metronome to help me fit these notes inside one beat. The first 4 notes fit into the first half of the beat, and the turn into the second half (kind a like a triplet, so they're more spaced out).

Fingering: I started with 2 3 2 3 2 1 2, but then switched to 2 4 2 4 2 1 2 and it feels *much* more comfortable.
Posted By: dogperson Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 02:45 AM
Talao
I am far from an Mozart expert, nor a trill historian, but I was taught that for early Mozart the trill begins on the upper note; the explanation is that he followed the instructions of C.P.E. Bach. In later Mozart, it begins on the primary note. Of course, I can be very wrong! Did you discuss trill conventions with your teacher?

P.S. this is why I play a lot of Romantic music 😊
Posted By: Bart K Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 05:45 AM
I would play eight notes with a turn: F# E F# E F# E D E with fingers 3-2-3-2-3-2-1-3 (preparing for the D with 2). If eight notes is too much then you can do six. I would stay with an even number so that it's easy to measure (either two groups of four or two groups of three).

Originally Posted by dogperson
I am far from an Mozart expert, nor a trill historian, but I was taught that for early Mozart the trill begins on the upper note; the explanation is that he followed the instructions of C.P.E. Bach. In later Mozart, it begins on the primary note. Of course, I can be very wrong! Did you discuss trill conventions with your teacher?
You can also do a suspension of the previous note that goes into the trill but that wouldn't work here because the previous note is staccato.
Posted By: dogperson Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 06:22 AM
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I would play eight notes with a turn: F# E F# E F# E D E with fingers 3-2-3-2-3-2-1-3 (preparing for the D with 2). If eight notes is too much then you can do six. I would stay with an even number so that it's easy to measure (either two groups of four or two groups of three).

Originally Posted by dogperson
I am far from an Mozart expert, nor a trill historian, but I was taught that for early Mozart the trill begins on the upper note; the explanation is that he followed the instructions of C.P.E. Bach. In later Mozart, it begins on the primary note. Of course, I can be very wrong! Did you discuss trill conventions with your teacher?
You can also do a suspension of the previous note that goes into the trill but that wouldn't work here because the previous note is staccato.

Thanks but I’m not sure I made my question clear so let me try again:

Does the beginning note change, depending on whether it is an early opt late Mozart work?
Posted By: Bart K Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 06:44 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by dogperson
I am far from an Mozart expert, nor a trill historian, but I was taught that for early Mozart the trill begins on the upper note; the explanation is that he followed the instructions of C.P.E. Bach. In later Mozart, it begins on the primary note. Of course, I can be very wrong! Did you discuss trill conventions with your teacher?
You can also do a suspension of the previous note that goes into the trill but that wouldn't work here because the previous note is staccato.

Thanks but I’m not sure I made my question clear so let me try again:

Does the beginning note change, depending on whether it is an early opt late Mozart work?
I'm not sure about that. I was just adding to your explanation as I have seen trills written out like that in RCM books. Probably Sidokar will now chime in with a detailed explanation of the historical evolution of the trill. wink
Posted By: Sidokar Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 09:39 AM
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I'm not sure about that. I was just adding to your explanation as I have seen trills written out like that in RCM books. Probably Sidokar will now chime in with a detailed explanation of the historical evolution of the trill. wink

I can chime in, if someone is interested.
smile
Posted By: dogperson Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 09:42 AM
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I'm not sure about that. I was just adding to your explanation as I have seen trills written out like that in RCM books. Probably Sidokar will now chime in with a detailed explanation of the historical evolution of the trill. wink

I can chime in, if someone is interested.
smile


Thanks much for your offer. Your knowledge would be much appreciated
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 03:34 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Talao
I am far from an Mozart expert, nor a trill historian, but I was taught that for early Mozart the trill begins on the upper note; the explanation is that he followed the instructions of C.P.E. Bach. In later Mozart, it begins on the primary note. Of course, I can be very wrong! Did you discuss trill conventions with your teacher?

P.S. this is why I play a lot of Romantic music 😊

The only trill convention we spoke of so far was the "start on the beat" vs "start before the beat" for short ornaments like mordents. When I asked him about this trill, he played the piece himself and told me to play it the way I described. He has a DMA in piano performance, so I usually do not think twice when he tells me to do certain things certain ways. This, of course, doesn't mean he's never wrong and he could very well be wrong here. It's sounding like the thread is converging to starting on the F#. I'll bring this up with him in our next lesson. I was getting so good at this trill starting on the E. Darn it! :-)
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 03:38 PM
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
You can also do a suspension of the previous note that goes into the trill but that wouldn't work here because the previous note is staccato.

I have the Henle Urtext edition of this piece and it doesn't have a staccato dot.
Posted By: dogperson Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 03:47 PM
Originally Posted by Talão
Originally Posted by dogperson
Talao
I am far from an Mozart expert, nor a trill historian, but I was taught that for early Mozart the trill begins on the upper note; the explanation is that he followed the instructions of C.P.E. Bach. In later Mozart, it begins on the primary note. Of course, I can be very wrong! Did you discuss trill conventions with your teacher?

P.S. this is why I play a lot of Romantic music 😊

The only trill convention we spoke of so far was the "start on the beat" vs "start before the beat" for short ornaments like mordents. When I asked him about this trill, he played the piece himself and told me to play it the way I described. He has a DMA in piano performance, so I usually do not think twice when he tells me to do certain things certain ways. This, of course, doesn't mean he's never wrong and he could very well be wrong here. It's sounding like the thread is converging to starting on the F#. I'll bring this up with him in our next lesson. I was getting so good at this trill starting on the E. Darn it! :-)


It would be much appreciated if you would ask. This is something I rremember ftom several years ago— but my memory or the information could be faulty. 😊
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 03:50 PM
Question for the group: does the fact that we are coming to the trill from the F# (which appears to be the recommended starting note) have any influence on the trill's starting note?

I played it both ways just now and I don't have a clear preference in terms of beauty to my ears.
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 03:52 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
It would be much appreciated if you would ask. This is something I rremember ftom several years ago— but my memory or the information could be faulty. 😊

I'm happy to ask. I'll report what he says here. My next lesson is this Friday.
Posted By: bennevis Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 04:27 PM
Originally Posted by Talão
Question for the group: does the fact that we are coming to the trill from the F# (which appears to be the recommended starting note) have any influence on the trill's starting note?
Normally, when coming to a trill from the note above (the auxiliary note), it's better to start it from the principal note rather than repeat the auxiliary note again immediately. I agree with your teacher here.

If the trill was approached from any other note in Mozart, I'd play it starting from the auxiliary note.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 04:59 PM
Originally Posted by Talão
Question for the group: does the fact that we are coming to the trill from the F# (which appears to be the recommended starting note) have any influence on the trill's starting note?

I played it both ways just now and I don't have a clear preference in terms of beauty to my ears.

It does but it also depends on the context. Here it is a cadential trill and there isnt any melodic issue, so i would start on F sharp. The dots and the slurs are editorial and are editor suggestions.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 05:57 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I'm not sure about that. I was just adding to your explanation as I have seen trills written out like that in RCM books. Probably Sidokar will now chime in with a detailed explanation of the historical evolution of the trill. wink

I can chime in, if someone is interested.
smile


Thanks much for your offer. Your knowledge would be much appreciated


Thank you for asking. Here are a few elements.

The baroque period is a very long one over 150 years. In that period there has been a number of different ways to play the trill. There are numerous ways to vary it and there are different trills, short or long, prepared, accelerating, with a stop, with a termination, ….

There is no consistent and unique way to start the trill in the baroque music. It depends on the exact period, country and composer.

Though it is true that toward the end of the baroque, typically end of the 17th century and first half of 18th, there is a consistent trend to start with the upper note. Which is what CPE Bach exposed in his treatise. That was largely under the influence of French keyboard practice, but there are a number of documented cases, though not the majority, where starting the trill with the main note is better or using a prep note played in anticipation of the beat.

Mozart was trained by his father. The influence of CPE Bach is not really obvious, unlike Haydn who we know was following his direction. For example, CPE Bach does use very often the turned trill sign (chevron and turn underneath) which Haydn also uses occasionally but which Mozart never used.

So, in his early years, the best is to look at what Leopold Mozart explained in his Violinschule published in 1756 and which had a considerable success. Leopold Mozart is following a lot of the Italien ornamental practice like the one of Tartini or Geminiani.

So, in general Mozart style owns a great deal to the Italian cantabile, unlike CPE BACH or other german composers who have a more harmonic heritage from Bach father. Mozart has a very vocal and melodic way of writing, like Chopin later on.

The trills and other ornaments must be decided based on that melodic continuity. In general, for the very young Mozart (5 to 8 years) the trill would start on the upper note. The music being fairly simple, that is a rather reliable rule, even if there are probably some exceptions.

Later on, Mozart has been influenced by his time, so certainly went away from his father teaching and evolved his practice according to the practice of musicians around him.

The trend to start the trill with the main note seems to pick up around circa 1775, where a number of italien treatises come back to the old Italian vocal legacy. It then starts to generalize in other countries but most experts would agree that both ways coexisted for a long time. Even Chopin who followed Clementi approach still uses trills which can start with the upper note or the main note depending on the case, when on the other hand Czerny trills almost always start on the main note.

For Mozart, we dont have any written documents that describe directly his point of view, so we are limited to study what most common treatises of the time say as well as his compositions where occasionally he would explicitely write the trill.

The outcome is that it is fair to consider that the basic short trill can start on the upper note or the main note. The upper note would probably be the most common case, but maybe not as frequently as with CPE Bach. Main note trill makes sense in a number of situations when there are appogiaturas (small notes), or descending stepwise motion. Like for Chopin it is essential to keep the cantabile melodic line rather than disrupt it with a dissonance. Cadential trills are usually started on the upper auxilliary, assuming it is the dissonant note. For long trills if nothing is indicated, I could start them on the main note with possibly a stop and a termination.
Posted By: dogperson Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 06:23 PM
Sidokar
Thanks very much!
Posted By: Bart K Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 07:38 PM
Sidokar, that's very interesting but where do you find info about the style of a specific composer? Suppose I were to take a lesser-known composer from the Baroque, how would I figure this out?
Posted By: Sidokar Re: How to play this trill? - 03/29/22 09:59 PM
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Sidokar, that's very interesting but where do you find info about the style of a specific composer? Suppose I were to take a lesser-known composer from the Baroque, how would I figure this out?

Qazsedcft, Are you talking about the ornamentation or more generally about the way the composer is writing music ?
Posted By: Bart K Re: How to play this trill? - 03/30/22 06:39 AM
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Sidokar, that's very interesting but where do you find info about the style of a specific composer? Suppose I were to take a lesser-known composer from the Baroque, how would I figure this out?

Qazsedcft, Are you talking about the ornamentation or more generally about the way the composer is writing music ?
I was asking about ornamentation in relation to your post.
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 03/30/22 06:56 AM
Thank you, Sidokar, for the detailed historical account. I don't know what it means for a trill to be cadential (as opposed to non-cadential?), but now that I have the term, I can research that for myself (so that I can identify it in other contexts as well).
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 03/30/22 07:00 AM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Normally, when coming to a trill from the note above (the auxiliary note), it's better to start it from the principal note rather than repeat the auxiliary note again immediately. I agree with your teacher here.

If the trill was approached from any other note in Mozart, I'd play it starting from the auxiliary note.

It's nice to see at least one person agreeing with my teacher :-) I'll tell him about this discussion and see if he changes his mind or not.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: How to play this trill? - 03/30/22 10:08 AM
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Sidokar, that's very interesting but where do you find info about the style of a specific composer? Suppose I were to take a lesser-known composer from the Baroque, how would I figure this out?

Qazsedcft, Are you talking about the ornamentation or more generally about the way the composer is writing music ?
I was asking about ornamentation in relation to your post.

OK, I understand your question. There are different indications that can be used. Many composers left written instructions or even theory books. At the time theorists were also composers anyway. That is the case for example for Frescobaldi, Diruta, Purcell, Rameau, Couperin... There are a lot of materials being published on the subject.

Secondly some composers did write in a number of ornaments into their score rather than using signs. In fact in early baroque very few signs were actually used. Musicians would know where to put ornaments, that be vocalists or luth, viola, keyboard players ....

For composers who did not write anything nor have detailed out the ornaments, one has to refer to the usual practice or the specific period in the country. So for example for late renaissance or early baroque one can use the directions given by Diruta, Merulo, or later on by Monteverdi or Frescobaldi.

What is important is to understand how the ornaments fits within the style of the composer, assuming one is interested by the historical style.

But during the classical period, the number of signs started to reduce and get standardized, so the issue becomes quite limited. There are a number of clocks that we have with Haydn music as well which have been used to determine how his ornaments should be played.

Of course you have people who compiled and give summary views usually by period/country. There is plenty of litterature on the subject. Now to be honnest most amateurs play only a few composers. For the baroque, it would be essentially Bach, Scarlatti, Haendel, Rameau may be. Few people will play Froberger, Frescolbaldi, Couperin, Chambonnieres or more exotic composers. So the question gets quite narrowed down.

So I think a few basic rules plus whatever written indications are available (the famous Bach table of ornaments, or Purcell table, Rameau) gives a start base which is good enough for beginners amateurs.
Posted By: Bart K Re: How to play this trill? - 03/30/22 11:28 AM
Thanks again Sidokar! Indeed, most likely I will never need that info but I was curious. I should probably start by reading the treatises by CPE Bach and Couperin first.
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 04/03/22 03:15 AM
I'm reporting back after a conversation with my piano teacher (as I promised to dogperson). I told him about this thread and he agrees that starting the trill on the upper note F# is also valid. If I interpreted his words correctly, he doesn't think it's a big deal to choose to start it on the main note (the E) in this case (especially because you're coming from the F#), and it's more of a personal choice.

One thing he noted, and which I hadn't realized, is that there's a rhythm difference between the two versions:

If you start it on the E and play, E F# E F# followed by E D E, the first four notes fit into the first half of the 1/4 note as a "1 e & a," while the the last 3 notes (the turn), fit into the second half of the 1/4 note as a triplet. So that timing difference is quite noticeable to the ear and adds some interesting (at least to me and to him) twist to it. This also makes it a bit more challenging to play (for a beginner, of course).

If you start on the F#, you play 8 notes in total (with the turn), rather than 7, which means they can all be equally spaced.
Posted By: BruceD Re: How to play this trill? - 04/03/22 05:00 AM
"
Originally Posted by Talão
If you start it on the E and play, E F# E F# followed by E D E, the first four notes fit into the first half of the 1/4 note as a "1 e & a," while the the last 3 notes (the turn), fit into the second half of the 1/4 note as a triplet."

Whatever note I start on and how many are in the trill, I would be inclined to make the notes equally spaced. Remember that it's an ornament so playing notes that fit exactly with the beats or half beats may sound a little too planned or mechanical.

I don't think that a measured trill is necessarily the only choice although it is one choice.

Regards,
Posted By: Talão Re: How to play this trill? - 04/03/22 04:34 PM
Originally Posted by BruceD
Whatever note I start on and how many are in the trill, I would be inclined to make the notes equally spaced. Remember that it's an ornament so playing notes that fit exactly with the beats or half beats may sound a little too planned or mechanical.

I don't think that a measured trill is necessarily the only choice although it is one choice.

Yes. I see now that, the way I wrote it, it reads like a recipe/prescription and that's not what I meant to imply. I understand that not all trills are measured. That's just the way I'm looking at it at the moment. It works better for me, at my current level and learning style, to make things precise so that I know what's coming. With more experience and practice, fluidity and on-the-spot flexibility should improve.
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