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Topic: Notation question about trills

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  1. #1

    Notation question about trills

    Trills of common duration, like a measure or so, are easy. Just add the trill and stretch the squiggly line how far you need.

    What I'm currently working on has passages with very short trills. What's the best, cleanest, most acceptable way to notate what I have here?

    The time is 2/4, key of F. Piccolo is doing little bursts of these short trills. In the first measure, I've just used a Mordent to indicate the short trill. The second measure is more accurate, showing exactly what I mean, and the duration is precise. But - is that too much to indicate? Is there another method I haven't shown here?



    I'm not concerned about the file playing back exactly right in Sibelius, I want the printed score to be correct.

    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: Notation question about trills

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Trills of common duration, like a measure or so, are easy. Just add the trill and stretch the squiggly line how far you need.

    What I'm currently working on has passages with very short trills. What's the best, cleanest, most acceptable way to notate what I have here?

    The time is 2/4, key of F. Piccolo is doing little bursts of these short trills. In the first measure, I've just used a Mordent to indicate the short trill. The second measure is more accurate, showing exactly what I mean, and the duration is precise. But - is that too much to indicate? Is there another method I haven't shown here?



    I'm not concerned about the file playing back exactly right in Sibelius, I want the printed score to be correct.

    Randy
    Randy: Yup--it's a mordent. In most cases, though, I'd notate exactly what I want to avoid confusion and misinterpretation--just as you did.

    Art
    Arthur J. Michaels
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  3. #3
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: Notation question about trills

    Randy,

    Use two grace notes to precede the main pitch - what you have notated is correct, but overly fussy, and will slow down someone reading it; I will try and attach an example.

    Ok, can't figure out how to add a jpg.

    Hope you can visualize it...
    Ron Pearl

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Notation question about trills

    Randy,

    As a band director of some 20 years, I can say that I rarely saw a mordent in concert band music. Sometimes in jazz band scores, but even that was rare. On the other side of the coin, orchestral scores frequently had mordents. I suspect the reason was to avoid misinterpretation and to assure the musicians understood exactly what was being requested. The playing of trills, mordents, even dotted 8th and 16th note combinations, especially by students is often a problem. My personal suggestion is to write all such items in detail. - Tom

  5. #5
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    Re: Notation question about trills

    I've usually seen mordents in baroque and early classical period music. I would not play the 1st measure notation the same as the second measure. Usually the 1st two notes would be the same length. You have the 2nd measure noted with the second note being 3 times longer than the first. This would be more of a grace note.

    I think the easiest notation would be to make the B an eighth note with A as a grace note before it. I'm looking at one of my flute method books and this is how they show the notation as you have in your 2nd measure.

    I don't consider what you have written as a trill. Most trills have at least 4 or 5 notes before resolving to the next note.

    Jim

  6. #6

    Re: Notation question about trills

    Thank you all for the input, Art, Ron, Tom and Jim.

    OK, a mordent is too classical, rarely seen. So, not that. It's a very simple "doodle doo" in 2/4. A John Philip Sousa score could probably show me at least how it was done back in his day. But since it's so simple, I don't want it to look difficult, like in my screenshot, probably described well by Ron as "overly fussy."

    Ron - We can't add images directly to a post. They have to be located at a site that allows direct hotlinking, you get the URL for the image, then paste that into the pop-up when you click "insert image."

    And, while I have your ear, Ron - Two grace notes?-- I've never done that, not sure I've seen it. The third note isn't really the main note, all three are meant to be very brief. But it doesn't really work to have them all the same length, like if I had "rest 16th 16th 16th rest" - it's too straight and doesn't have the bounce I need, that's why I have the dotted 16th note in that fussy example.

    I think I'll try Jim's idea of a grace note followed by an 8th note, and then the third note could also be an 8th note, staccato. That would look simple enough, but my concern is that I think of a grace note as shorter and less distinct than what I need. Hmmm. I guess I could try the straight 16th notes, as above, and in the ensemble, maybe that would sound better than I think. I'll try that too.

    Notation--something so natural and easy to play becomes so difficult to figure out on paper!

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: Notation question about trills

    Here's Bach's version:



    Though I'm fairly sure nobody sees it exactly this way any more.
    The image is from http://www.iment.com/maida/familytre...chnotation.htm
    The whole page makes a very interesting read IMHO, and there are some tiny downloadable MIDI examples.

    Regards,
    John.
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

  8. #8

    Re: Notation question about trills

    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    Here's Bach's version...
    Ha! Look at all that musical shorthand. Sibelius has most of those symbols available, but I definitely won't be using any of those in this band score.

    Here's what I've settled on for that little "doodle doo" pattern, based on Ron's idea of using two grace notes. The rhythm is different than what I had originally, but it plays back fine with the whole ensemble playing:



    In my earlier screenshot, that second measure is what Sibelius came up with in reading my Sonar MIDI file. It was accurate, but I agree it looks more difficult than it should.

    This works for me - I think! Thanks again for the help.

    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: Notation question about trills

    Hi Randy,

    A quick add to the advice already given. I meant to post sooner but it just didn't happen!

    I think the cleanest notation is to go with the mordent sign but what you have come up with looks good as well and should end up sounding as you want. I also think Ron's idea is good but I think I would write it as a double appoggiatura rather than grace notes, simply for extra clarity.

    I've put this up with bar 3 showing a third way to notate it but I still think the mordent is less cluttered and universally accepted.


    yjoh

    Music... A Joy For Life.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: Notation question about trills

    Randy,

    That is exactly what I was trying to post - and if you really need to, you can adjust the playback of them in Sibelius (let me know if you want the details). It makes perfect sense, now, that you did this originally in a DAW, then exported it to Sibelius. One of the problems with notation programs is they will try to give EXACTLY what was played, so often there are bizarrely complicated patterns. And thus, in your case, you had something that sounded right, but looked overly complex. the problem with grace notes/appogiaturas is that they "take no time" from the beat; they do, of course, but how much is not quantifiable - whether that is a virtue or a fault I leave to others.

    And, before you ask, please feel free to keep your notation questions coming. You could, also, post these types of queries on the Sib board (not trying to get you to leave), as they are a very helpful group, and deal with notation issues all the time. As was said in your previous notational question, music is a written language with many conventions, but also many exceptions, so even the most sophisticated program will have the occasional questionable result.

    All the best,
    Ron Pearl

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    ronaldmpearl.com

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