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 Shaking trills
Author: Arnoldstang (---.dsl.bell.ca - ISP in Hamilton, ON Canada)
Date:   2007-01-18 00:36

Hello, I am interested in a clarification of Sherman Friedland's comments in the Karl Leister thread. Mr Friedland used the words "shaking trills". I thought trill and shake to be synonymous. Is a shake an extremely rapid trill? If this is the case where is this documented? "Trills are simply not made to be shaken" This sentence falls into the same category for me. I just am not familiar with the word "shake" in this usage. The one (and only) dictionary on my shelf is the New(old now) College Encyclopedia of Music( more than a dictionary) by two Oxford University profs. Shake is listed as an old English term for trill. Under trill there is mention of an older term which is trillo (English "plain shake" ) In any case it is quite obvious I am not a scholar on ornamentation but would like to know why Mr Friedland uses the term shake the way he does. Respectfully....John Price

Freelance woodwind performer

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: sherman (---.dsl.bell.ca - ISP in Ottawa, ON Canada)
Date:   2007-01-18 02:06

Recently there had been a UTUBE recording of Karl Leister playing the Weber Quintet final movement, and a call for replies to the performance.
I found the performance quite wanting, for Mr Leister used a way of trilling which I have always called a shake which leaves this ornament rather screamingly executed, while a simple trill is actually much easier, even on the Oehler clarinet and especially with a performer of the quality of Karl Leister, perhaps the finest clarinetist of his time. I felt my attention was called to the shake itself, rather than it's function, which is simply an accent.

During the Baroque period in Music History, "shake" was used to mean trill, but this was prior to the actual codification of what is meant by a trill played in time, for instance in the slow movwment of the Pastoral at the cadential point in the long clarinet solo.

Nowadays a trill is a trill, and I use the word "shake" meaning a very rapid movement of the appendage more than the fingers, for instance in Capriccio Espagnol, first movement during the opening clarinet solo. The clarinetist can execute the trills on G rapidly(shaken) with either the correct fingering or the first trill key, and because it is so short, no problem is discerned, and in addition, the trill is notated with a stong (rinforzando ) accent.
In the performance of new music, I have often been asked to play trill utilizing the shake,the result usually being a frenetic , rather hysterical quality, which is what I heard on the UTUBE Weber, and really couldn't believe or accept it.

I performed La Quatour Pour La Fin du Temps, by Olivier Messiaen last summer at Festival Alexandria.
There is a 7 minute clarinet solo called Abime des oiseaux, really called the end of the birds. The movement is full of trills and one cannot play one of these shaken, simply not permitted. Why? distastful and not in the spirit of the composer's meaning.
Hence my point. All of this is dependant on the dictates of the music, the period in which it was composed and the intent of the composer.
I hope this provides clarification.
Sherman Friedland




Post Edited (2007-01-18 02:34)

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: BobD (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Naperville, IL United States)
Date:   2007-01-18 14:58

Hmmm....highlight and "copy" doesn't work. With all due respect, Sherm, the clarification doesn't help. Are you objecting to his appendage i.e. "hand" moving?

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: Tony Pay (---.su.ehu.es - ISP in Pais, 56 Spain)
Date:   2007-01-19 08:01

Arnoldstang wrote:

>> Is a shake an extremely rapid trill? >>

Mr Friedland is using the term to indicate a trill performed using the larger muscles of the wrist, forearm or even the whole arm. It's possible to do this for some trills, though obviously not all.

Using these larger muscles makes faster trills easier, probably because the muscles involved are stronger than finger muscles in comparison with the mass they have to shift. There is nothing inherently wrong with the method, though of course it's true that a too-fast trill can appear wrong in context. (If this is the case, the solution is to do it SLOWER, of course, which is perfectly possible.) The method also probably gets a bad name because you can use it on some 'fake' trills, like the one Mr Friedland mentions, from G to A using the side Bb key, that are not quite in tune.

For a beginner, the most sluggish trills are usually the ones involving RH and LH ring fingers, and the conventional method is unavoidable in these cases.

It's probably best to consider Mr Friedland's criticism as of Karl Leister's judgement rather than of the method itself.

Tony

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: BobD (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Naperville, IL United States)
Date:   2007-01-19 11:40

Thanks Tony as my prior understanding was that shake and trill were the same thing.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: sherman (---.dsl.bell.ca - ISP in Ottawa, ON Canada)
Date:   2007-01-19 13:36

Hostorically, the origin and evolution of the two words are different.
Sorry for not being clearer.

best, sherman




Post Edited (2007-01-19 15:36)

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: Alphie (---.135-2-64736c10.cust.bredbandsbolaget.se - ISP in Kista, 26 Sweden)
Date:   2007-01-19 13:46

Sherman, in Shostakovich 5th symphony 2nd movement: beginning of the Eb-clarinet solo 2nd bar, bar 14 in the piece, I usually “shake” that trill (G#-A) with the first side key. You understand my reasons for doing that. I have chosen to do so because I believe it corresponds well with the character Shostakovich has intended. It’s a heavy Scherzo-Allegretto and I try to avoid an accent on the critical note but I want the trill really fast. Would I be a victim of your criticism if you saw me doing that in a concert? In that case, can you develop why I shouldn’t do so according to your judgment?

Alphie

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: sherman (---.dsl.bell.ca - ISP in Ottawa, ON Canada)
Date:   2007-01-19 15:33

Alphie
It is perfect, and you have my total agreement. I would do it, love the piece and if asked would play it that way in a nanosecond.
sherman




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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: clarinetwife (69.71.190.---)
Date:   2007-01-19 17:48

Yes, I like Alphie's example. I was wondering though, historically speaking, whether the execution of a turn at the end makes any difference in whether an ornament is termed a trill or a shake. Or, for that matter, whether the shake involves a smaller number of oscillations between pitches where the trill lasts the whole duration of the note. Any historical performance-type people care to comment?

Barb

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: sherman (---.dsl.bell.ca - ISP in Ottawa, ON Canada)
Date:   2007-01-19 21:04

I have had a brief life as both a recorder player and a player of the Classical Clarinet. I had a lovely set of clarinets that started as the original three keyed model, then added a section which converted it to A, then kept adding keys until I had 13. And recorders were a part of every recital I played, a Sonata of Wanhal to begin, continuing with a Handel for Recorder, intermission, then either Brahms f minor or Hindemth.
Along the way one has to learn about the historical aspects of playing ornaments and trills and/ or shakes.
Learning this takes you to a place where the execution of the ornament
depends upon the time of the composition.
For instance and only as an example, for this is a long topic to start on, the execution of any ornament during the Baroque period was always done with an appogiature above the note in question on the beat, that iis to say, taking the melody note of G, one will play first the A above it for half of the time written, with an accent on the appogiatura.Playing it on the beat is difficult for many players and it is frequently played incorrectly, or before the beat.
If this precedes a note that is marked trill, the letters "tr"not coming into fashion for a while, it is played differently, and frequently, it is up to the performer to execute the ornament or the trill in the proper manner, and it is frequently argued as to which particular execution is correct.
What is terribly interesting about all this is that there are no recorded examples floating around.
There are treatises that go into the execution, however they are subject to opinion and discussion.
Actually, we are talking about a time when there was both much ornamentation and improvisation used in performance. More improvisation than there is in Jazz, using similar principles, and more different ways of executing the famous dotted eighth and sixteenth than hens teeth.
So, to conclude, yes I am or have been a performer of early repertoire and the above in general is part of the understanding I have come to know about it's execution.
As early as the Mozart Concerto there is still much discussion concerning the execution of trills, whether on the note or prior as an appogiatura.

Sherman Friedland




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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: Tony Pay (---.dsl.in-addr.zen.co.uk - ISP in Antony, C6 United Kingdom)
Date:   2007-01-20 15:58

clarinetwife wrote:

>> I was wondering though, historically speaking, whether the execution of a turn at the end makes any difference in whether an ornament is termed a trill or a shake. Or, for that matter, whether the shake involves a smaller number of oscillations between pitches where the trill lasts the whole duration of the note.>>

The answer to both of these questions, I find, is no. The terms 'trill' and 'shake' are synonymous, the latter falling into disuse with the passage of time.

Mr Friedland is coining his own usage of the word 'shake' and applying it not to the musical effect but to the physical execution of the effect, which of course he is perfectly entitled to do.

>> Any historical performance-type people care to comment?>>

My being a 'historical performance-type person' in this regard consists entirely of my having bothered to look up (and marvelled again at the pages and pages of) what the scholar Robert Donington writes in his article on 'Ornamentation' in (not the latest) Grove. Incidentally, he hints there that the dropping of the term 'shake' is perhaps mildly to be regretted, as there is another earlier use of the word 'trillo' that refers instead to vocal vibrato -- though the confusion is obviously minor.

I should say that if it should turn out that some other scholar finds some text in which some past author uses the words differently, then I'm sorry to have misinformed you -- but the discovery will clearly make about as much difference in both of our lives as Mr Friedland's different usage of the word 'shake' does.

On the other hand, knowing the different possibilities offered by trills/shakes does make a difference; for example, realising that some trills/shakes are 'prepared' (usually for harmonic reasons) and others 'unprepared' (for usually melodic reasons) is an important musical insight that impacts performance -- and more importantly, impacts the EFFECTIVENESS of performance.

In passing, not related particularly to this thread, there is an acronym, HIP, which stands for 'Historically Informed Performance'. I think it should lose the initial 'H', and come to be just 'Informed Performance'; and then the 'I' and the capital, and come to be just 'performance': that is, what we expect of performers in general, as a matter of course.

Consider the following analogy: anyone who wants to learn something about topography (or something else) from ANY map, of ANY period, would obviously be foolish not to bother to investigate the conventions of map-making being used by the person who drew it. I see no reason why we shouldn't take the same attitude to musicians who read the scores of composers, past or present, without similarly 'informing' themselves.

There is a difference between deciding to do something different from what's written in a score because you CHOOSE to, and doing something different from what's written by accident, because you simply can't be bothered to ask yourself and then investigate what it originally meant.

Phrase marks in Beethoven are another example of that, whatever Mr Dow thinks.

Tony



Post Edited (2007-01-20 20:19)

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: D Dow (---.nb.aliant.net - ISP in Guelph, ON Canada)
Date:   2007-01-22 12:45

A more authorative place for info to go is:



http://www.dolmetsch.com/index.htm

and on trills etc
http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory23.htm#trill

David Dow

Post Edited (2007-01-22 13:01)

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: BobD (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Naperville, IL United States)
Date:   2007-01-22 13:00

I found and viewed the YouTube performance cited and Leister's body movements were far more obvious than his shakey trills. Given that the other members maintained normal body movement I wonder if Karl forgot to apply his Preparation H.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Shaking trills
Author: clarinetwife (69.71.190.---)
Date:   2007-01-22 15:06

Tony Pay wrote: >On the other hand, knowing the different possibilities offered by trills/shakes does make a difference; for example, realising that some trills/shakes are 'prepared' (usually for harmonic reasons) and others 'unprepared' (for usually melodic reasons) is an important musical insight that impacts performance -- and more importantly, impacts the EFFECTIVENESS of performance.<

I learned most of what I know about ornamentation in piano lessons. Once I had the basic outline of performance practice for a particular time period, most of what we focused on was context and interpretation. That is the background upon which I draw the most when working out pieces on my own or playing with others.


Thanks for the link, David D. That's a good overview.

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