WRONG – this post, and others in this category, isn’t about ornaments at Christmas but about those funny looking marks over your music and how to play them.
The trill (or shake, as it was known from the 16th until the 19th century) is a musical ornament consisting of a rapid alternation between two adjacent notes, usually a semitone or tone apart, which can be identified with the context of the trill.
A trill provides rhythmic interest, melodic interest, and harmonic interest. Sometimes it is expected that the trill will end with a turn or some other variation. Such variations are often marked in the music.
A trill in your music can look like this
Or like this tr~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Trills can be played differently, depending on the period in which the composer was living so it is important to know the time period of your piece.
Baroque trills (aka shakes in this time period) have several ways to be played as shown in this chart:
A table depicting how to perform different types of trills (or shakes) when playing music from the Baroque period (1600-1750).
The Baroque trill continuing through Mozart’s time usually begins on the note above the main note.
In music after the time of Mozart, the trill usually begins on the principal note.
Often, your music will have suggestions about how they should be played written above the music. If not, ASK!
A really good book which explains about the trill and other ornaments is this one, available as a reference book in the O’Connor Music Studio:
Some trill exercises:
Questions? Write them down and don’t forget to ask at your next lesson!
. 1949 ~ Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis debuted on radio in an NBC program that ran until 1952.
. 1950 ~ Kurt Weil, German composer, died, best known for his “Threepenny Opera” and for his collaboration with actress and singer Lotte Lenya whom he married in 1926.
. 1952 ~ Harry Belafonte recorded his first songs for RCA Victor at Manhattan Center in New York City.
. 1952 ~ Hugo Winterhalter backed up the singer with an 18-piece orchestra. Among the sides recorded were Dogs A-Roving and Chimney Smoke.
. 1955 ~ Fred Astaire appeared on television for the first time on The Toast of the Town, with host, Ed Sullivan. Already an established dancer in films, Astaire was quick to become a TV sensation as well.
. 1965 ~ Bob Dylan appeared on the pop music charts for the first time. Subterranean Homesick Blues entered the Top 40 at number 39. The song stayed on the charts for eight weeks. Dylan would chart a total of 12 singles on the pop charts between 1965 and 1979. He appeared in the films Don’t Look Back, Eat the Document and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. He made the film Renaldo and Clara in 1978. Dylan co-starred in the film Hearts of Fire in 1987. He became a member of the Traveling Wilburys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Dylan won the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.
. 1986 ~ For the first time in six years, major record companies decided to raise prices – between three and five percent.
. 1986 ~ Peter Pears, British operatic tenor, died. He was a collaborator with composer Benjamin Britten and first interpreter of many of Britten’s works, notably “Peter Grimes.”
. 1999 ~ Lionel Bart, British composer of the musical “Oliver!,” died aged 68.
. 2001 ~ Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey, a blues singer-guitarist known for his croaky voice, died of prostate cancer. He was 74. Kinsey and his sons, Kenneth, Donald and Ralph, became known as “Big Daddy” Kinsey and His Fabulous Sons. The sons now form the Gary-based Kinsey Report and record for Alligator Records, a Chicago blues label. The Kinsey Report has toured with the likes of the Allman Brothers Band. In the early ’90s, the elder Kinsey experienced one of his career highlights with I Am the Blues, a major-label release on Polygram. The album boasted a host of blues standouts backing up Kinsey, including Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Sugar Blue and Pinetop Perkins.
2015 ~ Andrew Porter died. He was a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera.