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trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375087
06/24/07 11:45 AM
06/24/07 11:45 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 9,868
pianojerome Offline OP
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pianojerome  Offline OP
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Do you play all trills the same way -- always starting on the main note, or always starting on the note above -- whether its baroque, classical, romantic, or later?

Or do you play them differently, depending on the style?


My teacher believes that trills should always[1] start from the note above, even in Chopin -- the long tradition of starting on the main note is a teacher's error compounded, he says.


[1] except for particular exceptions which should be considered individually.


Sam
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Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375088
06/24/07 12:24 PM
06/24/07 12:24 PM
Joined: May 2001
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Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Your teacher is comfortably riding the fence, isn't he : always/except for?

In Baroque and Classical there are even exceptions depending on the direction the melody line might be taking, but, in general, one starts on the note above. In Romantic literature I tend to be less dogmatic than your teacher.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375089
06/24/07 01:19 PM
06/24/07 01:19 PM
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Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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BruceD is right. In Baroque, one always starts on the note above. In Romantic music, one starts on the main note and trills up from there, except where an upper neighbor grace note indicates to starts from above. In Classical, it depends on the context, but generally in a long trill, one starts from above. This is the commonly accepted performance practice.


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Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375090
06/24/07 01:24 PM
06/24/07 01:24 PM
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pianojerome Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by Morodiene:
BruceD is right. In Baroque, one always starts on the note above. In Romantic music, one starts on the main note and trills up from there, except where an upper neighbor grace note indicates to starts from above. In Classical, it depends on the context, but generally in a long trill, one starts from above. This is the commonly accepted performance practice.
Why the change for romantic music?


Sam
Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375091
06/24/07 01:52 PM
06/24/07 01:52 PM
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Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Although I don't know historically what the reason is, my guess would be the trill serves a slightly different purpose in Baroque/Classical than in Romantic. They are both to draw attention to the note being trilled. I think in Romantic terms, the focus was more on sustaining a note longer as in a melodic line played on a violin or sung. In such a case, one would want the note trilled to be clearly articulated, and the trill would just be reitterating the note. In Baroque/Classical periods, the trill's purpose was mainly that of drawing attention to the trilled note, as one might do with a grace note, by creating dissonance (sometimes prolonged) and resolving it to the note being trilled. Obviously, both Baroque/Classical and Romantic approaches can and do use the trill for all the above scenarios, I just think the *primary* purpose for the time period changed.


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Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375092
06/24/07 02:22 PM
06/24/07 02:22 PM
Joined: May 2001
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Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Sam :

For example, this afternoon I am performing (among other pieces) the Chopin Waltz, Op 34, No 2, in a minor. In measure 5 is the first occurence of a trill on a melody note - in this case in the left hand. The trill is on E, but since the previous note is an F, I am opting to start the trill on the E (first beat of the bar), so as to not over-emphasize a carry-over of the F from the previous measure.

I am sure one could make an equally convincing argument for starting the trill on the F - if so, I'd like to hear it - but for me the trill sounds and feels more in keeping with the melodic line when started on the E.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375093
06/24/07 02:43 PM
06/24/07 02:43 PM
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Dallas, TX, US
Schubertian Offline
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This is the way I was always taught - in the baroque the trill is always according to the french style, i.e. four notes starting with the note above. This style of execution supposedly continued into the classical and early romantic era at which point Hummel - in a theoretical work - demanded that trills start on the main note - and then - at Hummel's authority - the entire musical world immediately switched to starting with the main note (see harold schonberg's book on The Great Pianists - its in there somewhere).

Recently - actually, just last week - I read Badura-Skoda's "Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard" which goes over Bach's ornamentation in detail. There is no single simple formula to follow and every case must be examined separately with consideration to melodic flow, voice leading and harmony - but in general Bach's symbols may be interpreted according to d'Alembert and Rameau's detailed explainations. However Bach used a single symbol - the wavy line - to represent various types of extended trills and also an short trill his son CPE called the 'Prall-triller' which starts on the main note, and is executed with two notes: the note above and then the main note again (c - d- c), and it should be executed with a 'snap'. It is the inverse of the mordent.

Badura-Skoda goes to great lengths to establish it's historical credentials and to illustrated when and how it should be used. Get a copy of this book. It is well written, interesting, and a useful practical guide.


"There are so many mornings that have not yet dawned." -- Rg Veda
Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375094
06/24/07 04:50 PM
06/24/07 04:50 PM
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pianojerome Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:
Sam :

For example, this afternoon I am performing (among other pieces) the Chopin Waltz, Op 34, No 2, in a minor. In measure 5 is the first occurence of a trill on a melody note - in this case in the left hand. The trill is on E, but since the previous note is an F, I am opting to start the trill on the E (first beat of the bar), so as to not over-emphasize a carry-over of the F from the previous measure.
Thanks -- this is the exact waltz that I was playing this morning, which made me think of the question about trills.


Sam
Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375095
06/24/07 09:40 PM
06/24/07 09:40 PM
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Auckland, New Zealand
Matthew Collett Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Schubertian:
However Bach used a single symbol - the wavy line - to represent various types of extended trills and also an short trill his son CPE called the 'Prall-triller' which starts on the main note, and is executed with two notes: the note above and then the main note again (c - d- c), and it should be executed with a 'snap'. It is the inverse of the mordent.
CPE distinguishes between the 'Pralltriller' or 'half-trill' (e.g. D-C-D-C) and the 'snap' ('upper mordent' or 'inverse mordent' e.g. C-D-C). The former he treats as a variant of the trill, notated in the same way; the latter he treats as a completely separate ornament with no standard notation (he writes it out using two grace notes), which suggests to me that it was fairly new-fangled in his time. Does Badura-Skoda not make this distinction?

Best wishes,
Matthew


"Passions, violent or not, may never be expressed to the point of revulsion; even in the most frightening situation music must never offend the ear but must even then offer enjoyment, i.e. must always remain music." -- W.A.Mozart

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Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375096
06/24/07 10:48 PM
06/24/07 10:48 PM
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Posts: 1,127
Dallas, TX, US
Schubertian Offline
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Badura-Skoda's argument is quite complex and detailed and unfortunately I dont have time to do it justice here, the best I can do is to urge you to take a look at it yourself

CPE Back himself states in the 1787 edition of the Essay that the Pralltriller and the Schneller ('snap') are identical - what CPE did was to invent a new notation for the case where a pralltriller is not immediately preceded by a higher tone to which it is slurred - (this I take it was the normal situation) - this is indicated with two grace notes. Both ornaments are executed the same way - as the inversion of a mordent, or c-d-c.


"There are so many mornings that have not yet dawned." -- Rg Veda
Re: trills in Bach, trills in Chopin #375097
06/25/07 02:16 AM
06/25/07 02:16 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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There are exceptions in the Baroque. The Gm prelude Bk I needs to start on the G not above. It's to do with the long note.

Here's an interesting one. Has anyone ever seen a mordent with a stroke through it? Mozart uses them in his variations KV 500 in Bb. He must have got it from Haydn who uses it in sonata Hob.XVI:17 also in Bb. Logic kind of predicts you do an upside down mordent. But anybody seen it before? It's not in the Versuch or Dannreuther.

Pianojerome, the tone of your second posting would indicate there is a personal choice. Only if it is within the contemporary performance practice.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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