Accidentals on trills.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by mikelyons, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    We've been looking at our test piece for Harrogate and I've spotted a curiously ambiguous marking.

    If you want to flatten or sharpen one of the notes of a trill, where should the accidental go?

    e.g. in this particular case we are in Eb (Bb pitch), trilling on an F.

    Most people would instinctively trill F-G, however, there is a natural above the trill line. This would indicate that the upper note should be naturaled- at least in my limited understanding - but as the G is natural, logic would indicate that the natural is meant to mean F-E natural (a downwards trill). But, in that case, shouldn't the natural sign go below the trill line?
  2. wewizrobbed

    wewizrobbed Member

    surely it doesn't make a difference...?!?
  3. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Trilling on F to G (natural) is most likely correct. It sounds as though the natural sign above the tr is either a cautionary (was G flattened in the previous bar?) or got there by mistake and is superfluous. It would be incorrect to trill from F to E natural below in the context you've explained.
  4. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Although I have neither the score nor a cornet part at home, I'm fairly sure that there is no Gb. A cautionary accidental would have brackets round it - wouldn't it?

    As the piece is based on music from the late renaissance/early baroque period, it is quite possible that the trill would be to the note below - in which case, the E natural would be the correct interpretation.

    Any other offers?
  5. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Of course it does - to the pedant or pedagogue. I'm also naturally curious (read nosy) about such things. Did Michael Ball intend E natural, which is possible and even likely, or is it a typo - this is a national test piece after all! :D

    There is also the fact that I'm doing all the bands in the 2nd section a service (no charge) by getting them to think about it. :)

    My person feeling is that it is F - E natural. But in that case, the natural should have gone under the line.
  6. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    Playing this style of music you would start a trill on the higher of the 2 notes, but the note would be the lower of the 2. I don't think you would ever go down from the written note on a trill (correct me if I'm wrong)

    The only reason I would think there is a natural sign above the trill, would be because there was a Gb or G# earlier in the bar or, as mentioned before, just a cautionary accidental because there has been a b/# recently.

    Of course, it could just be a mistake :roll:
  7. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I have a vague memory of a-level theory on this sort of thing... In early (baroque/renaissance) up to somewhere around the start of the classical era (i think) it was standard to trill to the note below... for some reason this was changed to the note above... I was never really clear on why... but anyway, if this is a transcription of a particularly old piece of music then it would probably be a trill to the E natural, which would also appear to be the only way that marking makes sense!

    Sorry about my very vague grasp of musical theory.... I failed...
  8. I was always told a trill was to a semi tone higher so shouldn't it be f to f#?
  9. louise0502

    louise0502 Member

    I doubt it! (i've hardly ever come across this being used and it is one of the things that really annoys me cos it should be!) :twisted: :x :twisted:
  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Just a thought, but it wouldn't be a reminder to finish off the G/F trill with a turn using E natural :?:
  11. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I've noticed this sort of thing with pieces printed by music packages in Sibelius and such like. I'm guessing obviously, not having seen the score, but I fear it's a simple case that in another part on the score (not necessarily your individual one) there may well have been a G flat in the previous bar so it's been programmed to correct itself in the next bar for any part that contains a G, either as a single note or part of a trill. (Edit) and as the parts can be printed individually from the 'score' version, you will find that both parts and score always match each other, even if there's an inadvertent mistake! ;-)

    Of course, I could be talking complete nonsense..... again! ;-)
  12. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    :shock: Never heard of that before. I've always been taught to trill to the note above, taking into account the key signiature of course.
    Orchestral and piano players, so my theory teacher tells me start the trill on the note above the written note and then trill from there whereas it seems natural for us brass players to start on the written note and trill upwards a note.

    Suppose it's how you've been taught to do it. But it definately makes a difference.

  13. I also have this vague kind of memory but isn't it to do with whether you start on the note or on the note above which is the difference between baroque and classical periods, rather than where the trill goes to? Isn't it great to know that with all the musos on this site, we can't get a definitive answer to a theory question :?
  14. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I thought I supplied a fairly logical answer. Captain.



    (edit) I would have thought that the note a trill GOES to should be assumed to be the next available note above (whether it starts on the upper note or not) in the key signature unless otherwise indicated by an accidental. Here's a case in point that (I personally feel) many cornet players make a mistake. The 'nightingale' section in Alan Fernie's arrangement of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. Halfway through that passage there are three consecutive trills, starting on an F sharp, F natural and E in that order. Above the F natural there's a natrual sign to indicate a trill from F natural to G natural. Why? Because there are three sharps in the key signature at that point, but many a time I've heard the trill from F sharp going to G natural when it should be going to G sharp as per the key signature (as well as sometimes hearing the E being trilled to F instead of F sharp!). It also makes sequential sense to make the trills from F sharp to G sharp, F to G and E to F sharp!

    I'll get me coat...... ;-)
  15. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I believe that the natural indicates that the trill has a turn at the end with a natural. So, in this case, you'd trill F-G, with the pattern F-G-F-Enatural-F at the end. Assuming, of course, that there is an Eflat in the key.

    Many pianists play all trills beginning on the upper (auxiliary) note on anything written between Bach and Beethoven. In Baroque music, the beginnings and terminations of trills have different trill symbols with lines and slashes and things through them to indicate exactly what the ornament should be.
  16. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Possibly but for the vast majority of brass band pieces, I think we're referring to the basic bog-standard trill (which was what my 'theory' was based on)
  17. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Is the composer still alive? (Sorry, don't know which test piece you're playing) If he is, surely you could write to him and ask... maybe it was just a doodle from when he got a bit bored, and the publishers ran with it...
  18. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I am positive on the following for trills:

    1. The trill will be to the next note above in key unless otherwise indicated.

    2. If it's a "modern" piece, the trill will start on the stated note and unless grace notes indicate otherwise end (a) with a triplet if the next note is one note higher or lower, or (b) as expected if not.

    3. The statement about trilling to a semitone higher by default is a load of Bb Bass, although Sibelius appears to do this.

    4. A trill is always, and without exception, to the note above. An inverted trill, (rarer and even more bizarre than even an inverse mordent) is an archaic device with its own specific notation (Haven't seen one since A level and can't recall what it is. Maybe the trill line has a vertical bar through it.)

    5. In "modern" music, a trill should not end on a turn unless the turn symbol is visible.

    I'm reasonably sure from the info given that the trill should be from F to G, and that the natural is indeed cautionary because of the common misconception detailed point 3.

    (Ornaments. Such fun at Grade 5 theory. Spent hours arguing with the teacher about how to do them - did 'em my way and got full marks on that section...)

    Happy to be corrected by either the composer or anyone quoting directly from a reference book!
  19. tim

    tim Member

    The trill should only ever begin on the note above if it is baroque music (unless otherqise indicated in the music) and it would be notated as the note and not the auxilary (sp) note. So I don't think it will be an F to E natural trill paticularly because the natural is above the trill line.

    If it as ambiguous as it sounds to be I think this is one you want to get onto the editor/publisher or the person who would know how to find out which one is right!
  20. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a misprint to me.

    It's possible to get too worried about what ornaments actually mean - if the exact form of them were that vital, surely the composer would have written out the important bits of them explicitly? As a human performer, I try to take a perverse pride in doing whatever is moderately close to the standard interpretation and sounds good with any given ornament.

    Is this 'Chaucer's Tunes'? I don't know the piece, but Geoffry Chaucer lived from ~1340-1400, which, in musical terms, is Mediaeval. Musically speaking, I'm not sure as to the exact year when the Renaissance is considered to have started, but I don't believe that it can predate Josquin Desprez (1440-1521). So, if it is this piece, either i) Michael Ball is using anachronistic tunes, or ii) The statement above is incorrect!

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