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Trills in Scarlatti #540574
04/29/08 03:01 PM
04/29/08 03:01 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 278
Portland, OR
ted.stanion Offline OP
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ted.stanion  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 278
Portland, OR
There seems to be a plethora of ornament questions these days, so here is one more. Should the trills in Scarlatti start on the principal note, the auxiliary or does it depend on the context? I was playing through K. 64 the other day and thought the trills sounded and felt much better starting on the principal. My edition, however, says to start on the auxiliary. What think you?

Ted

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Re: Trills in Scarlatti #540575
04/29/08 03:33 PM
04/29/08 03:33 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,291
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline
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Victoria, BC
Ted :

I'm working on a couple of Scarlatti Sonatas at the moment. My teacher suggests that trills generally start on the auxiliary unless there is a passage where doing so would either be awkward or would interfere with the melodic line. I believe the same rule applies to almost all Baroque music, does it not?

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Trills in Scarlatti #540576
04/29/08 03:51 PM
04/29/08 03:51 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 9,868
pianojerome Offline
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pianojerome  Offline
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I think it's important to realize why we have these so-called "rules" in the first place.

They aren't arbitrary.

We come up with these so-called rules, because those rules serve pretty well, usually, to help us make the music sound good.

That's the most fundamental concern: does it sound good? So as a general rule, it's pretty well agreed that we should start on the auxillary note, because that usually sounds pretty good to do it that way. But if it doesn't sound good to do it that way in a particular instance, then it would be 100% paradoxical to the purpose of the rule to insist on doing it that way.


Sam
Re: Trills in Scarlatti #540577
04/29/08 04:22 PM
04/29/08 04:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,306
Mattardo Offline
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Mattardo  Offline
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Historically, the auxilliary was the start point but wasn't always an unbendeable rule. You have to take into consideration what note you want to emphasize, whether you're playing it on a piano or a harpsichord, whether or not your modern tastes are effecting your interpretation and how a keyboard is limited in expressing what a trill is taking the place of essntially. Starting a trill on the primary note with Scarlatti can sometimes sound better on a piano because of the difference between harpsichord response and piano response : try the same trill on a harpsichord and you very might well find that the auxilliary indeed sounds and feels more natural.

I suppose that you can't stick TOO much to historical precedence on a piano rendition of Scarlatti by the very fact that you're using a piano, so if the main-note trill sounds better then it might as well be used.

Personally, I play trills differently depending on the instrument used.

Re: Trills in Scarlatti #540578
04/29/08 04:34 PM
04/29/08 04:34 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 268
Columbia/Westchester Counties ...
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Copake Offline
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Copake  Offline
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I don't know if I have been wrong all these years but I thought that in music of the Baroque period (e.g., Bach, Scarlatti, Handel) a trill should begin on the auxiliary note. In situations where the note preceding the trill happens to be the auxiliary note then it should be tied to the first note of the trill. My piano teacher had me read C.P.E Bach's treatise on the subject but that was more than 40 years ago and my memory is not what it used to be.

Re: Trills in Scarlatti #540579
04/29/08 05:51 PM
04/29/08 05:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 278
Portland, OR
ted.stanion Offline OP
Full Member
ted.stanion  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 278
Portland, OR
Part of the reason I asked is that a quick search on Google indicates that there is some debate among Scarlatti scholars. Unfortunately, most of the articles are on sites that require a subscription. With the Bach family, I agree that you should start on the auxiliary, but Bach was careful to use different notation to describe different ornaments, some of which started on the principal. Scarlatti, I believe, only used tr or the wavy line. It is not obvious to me that he always had the same ornament in mind.

Ted

Re: Trills in Scarlatti #540580
04/30/08 12:30 PM
04/30/08 12:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,956
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Online happy
7000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Online Happy
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,956
Orange County, CA
Quote
Originally posted by Copake:
I don't know if I have been wrong all these years but I thought that in music of the Baroque period (e.g., Bach, Scarlatti, Handel) a trill should begin on the auxiliary note. In situations where the note preceding the trill happens to be the auxiliary note then it should be tied to the first note of the trill. My piano teacher had me read C.P.E Bach's treatise on the subject but that was more than 40 years ago and my memory is not what it used to be.
You are thinking of the special case of trills called "Pralltrillers" or "Leaned trills." In this special case, the two notes preceding the ornament must be going one step down and be indicated by a slur. Then you are to do an "inverted mordent" after a slight delay, or "tie." This is very rare in Bach, but more common in the French Baroque composers like Rameau, Daquin, and Couperin. I'm not a scholar in Scarlatti sonatas so I'm not sure how it would apply to his trills.

I had my piano student play pralltrillers for a Bach competition, but apparently the judges have no idea what a pralltriller is and noted that "ALL trills must start on the upper note."
:t:


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Trills in Scarlatti #540581
04/30/08 01:44 PM
04/30/08 01:44 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
J
John Citron Offline
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John Citron  Offline
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J

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
Scarlatti, like many of the other Italian composers of the period, was not clear in what he had in mind for his ornements. In some places he uses the tr symbol. In others he uses the zig-zag line. In this case, we do not know whether one sybol means a regular trill, and the other is for an inverted mordent in some cases, or for a long regular trill. The same issue, by the way, is with English music of the same period by Croft, Stanley, Purcell, and others.

The Germans and French however were more precise and wrote their directions and trills exactly how they wanted them. Their rule books have become the foundation that we follow for our interpretation of Baroque ornaments.

So having said this, the rules that I was taught with Scarlatti and his other Italian and English contemporaries is that.

1) All trills start on the beat.

2) A majority of the trills start on the note above with some starting on the principle note if the preceeding measure ends in the same note. In some cases, it works to tie these two notes together and start the trill on the principal note as this makes for a more legato line.

Like most music of this period, it was left up to the performer to figure out how long and what type of ornament would fit the particular place in the music. This is what makes Baroque music so much fun.

John


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Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.

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