Question on trills

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by Kevin Hilman, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. Kevin Hilman

    Kevin Hilman Pianissimo User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I'm wondering what the rules are, if any, on which note a trill is supposed to begin on. I've been recently studying Chuck Seipp's Wedding Book and have been listening to recordings of these types of pieces.

    In my listening I noticed that Wynton Marsalis and Rolf Smedvig, both masters in my opinion, begin the trill in the opening statement of "Prince of Denmark's March" differently.

    Wynton begins on the written G and trills up to the A while Mr. Smedvig begins on the A and trills down to the G. In my own playing of the piece I find it a little easier to begin on the A and trill down, and yet, when I listen to the piece I tend to prefer hearing the G first trilling up to the A.

    Are there any hard and fast rules or is it one of those "if it feels good, do it" kind of areas?


  2. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    typically baroque trills are from above. a-g-a-g

    music from classical period and later are from the principal note up. g-a-g-a
  3. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Kevin- General practice of the baroque is to perform the trill beginning on the upper neighbor; sustain briefly to create the tension and accelerate slightly through the trill.

    *we must've been writing at the same time!*

    In the romantic, this changes and trills begin on the lower note.

    If you can get to the school library, and can find it (most colleges should have this), look up the Trumpet and Kettle Drummer's Art. A book written during that time period. Very interesting stuff. Check out Ed Tarr's book, too.
  4. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    The biggest rule is to make sure it sounds musical - the aim of a trill is simply to ornament a specific note, it is not to demonstrate how fast you can waggle your valves (especially in the baroque music where it would have been a lip trill originally).
    I find a good phrase I use when teaching is that "less is more."

    Saying that, I agree with the above posts about which note to start on.
  5. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN

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