Ornaments Aren’t Just for the Holidays

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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 thistrill

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 when playing music from the Baroque period (1600-1750).[4] Note the similarity between the symbol for trill and that of the mordent.

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:

ornamentation

Some trill exercises:

Questions?  Write them down and don’t forget to ask at your next lesson!

Steinway’s New Piano Can Play a Perfect Concerto by Itself | WIRED

 

THE BLACK AND white keys move so fast it’s hard to tell if Jenny Lin is even touching them. Lin, a classical pianist known for virtuosic speed, is sitting at a grand piano in Steinway’s New York offices, as the rest of the room listens intently, focused on the keyboard.

No, she’s definitely not touching the keys. Not this time. Minutes earlier, Lin played a hyper-speed arrangement of George Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm.” The same song is playing now, except this time Lin hands are on her lap. It’s uncanny, really: The exact same keys are pressed, the exact same trills are heard, the same dynamics are present. It’s a little magical—or “almost scary” as Lin puts it—as though you’re witnessing a prodigious ghost mimic her every move.

It’s not a ghost, of course. It’s technology. Which, considering Steinway’s old-school legacy, is nearly as unlikely an explanation as a poltergeist. Lin is demonstrating the Spirio, Steinway’s newest and first self-playing piano.

When you buy a Spirio—not you, necessarily; they run upwards of $110,000—it comes with an iPad loaded with a Spotify-like app. This app communicates with the piano via Bluetooth, prompting the piano to play any one of the 1,700 songs recorded specifically for the instrument. New songs will sync every week. By itself, an iPad-controlled piano is nifty, if not exactly a technological marvel. What makes Spirio different is that it can play songs with an unprecedented level of accuracy and nuance.

Read more at Steinway’s New Piano Can Play a Perfect Concerto by Itself | WIRED.

Piano Ornaments ~ Trills

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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 trill

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 when playing music from the Baroque period (1600-1750).[4] Note the similarity between the symbol for trill and that of the mordent.

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:

ornamentation

 

 

Some trill exercises:

Questions?  Write them down and don’t forget to ask at your next lesson!