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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000138.txt from 2001/04

Subj: [kl] re: Trills
Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2001 17:23:55 -0400

Bill Wright asks:

>>Would anyone care to comment on whether it can be considered acceptable in
classical circles to perform a half-note trill (3/4 larghetto, upper end of
adagio) exactly on the beat where it is written, but to hold the first 'note'
of the trill for a moment (perhaps one-fourth of a beat) before proceeding
with the remainder of the trill? Would this exceed the normal "performer's

Bill -

According to treatises by Quantz (flute), Leopold Mozart (violin) and, as I
recall, C.P.E. Bach (keyboard), all trills, including those in fast
movements, begin on the upper note and hold that note for HALF the length of
the entire trilled note. That is, if you have a trilled half note F#, you
play the G above it for a quarter note and trill from F# to G for a quarter
note. Assuming the trill resolves up to G, there is the obligatory turn at
the end (E/F#/G), so the actual trill movement lasts less than half the
length of the written note.

I haven't looked at Donnington recently, but I'm sure he discusses the matter.

I play lots of recorder and have gotten used to doing it that way in music of
this period. If you learn to believe in it, it works very well. I even do
it in W.A. Mozart, though not quite half-and-half, since this gets to sound
like a mannerism.

Thus you are certainly not outside of a performer's license to lengthen the
initial note to 1/4 beat. If anything, at least according to the best
evidence we have from just before and at the start of the classical period,
you're not lengthening it enough.

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

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