Theory, Musical Symbols: Ornaments – Dr. Margot Murdoch


Now we turn our attention to ornaments. Ornaments, there’s a lot of different ornaments,
but we’re just going to learn a few today. The first one we’re going to learn is called,
“trill.” And trills can be written out a couple of
different ways. They can look like this, or like this, or
if the composer has lots of ink in his pen that day, he can write it all out like that. They all mean to do the same thing: start
on this note, and alternate quickly with the note above it. Let me give you an example of a trill. So here are two more common ornaments: the,
“appoggiatura” and the, “acciaccatura.” And these two notes look similar to each other,
but the thing you need to recognize when you see them is that they won’t be the same size
as the notes around them. They’ll be maybe 70% of the size of a regular
note, and when you see them you need to know that they don’t take up the value that a regular
note takes up. The appoggiatura is traditionally thought
of as landing on the beat where a note should have been, while the acciaccatura, some people
call these, “crushed notes,” they land on the beat, and then are quickly left for the
big note. There’s no way other to explain these but
to do a demonstration. So let me play them in, “Twinkle, Twinkle,
Little Star” on the piano. Appoggiatura’s are going to land right on
the beat and be left, depending on what your teacher says, quickly, or maybe at an even
tempo with the other notes around them. Here’s “Twinkle Twinkle” with some appoggiatura’s. Let’s try it with acciaccatura. And remember, acciaccatura happens in the
split second before the beat’s going to happen, and they’re like, “crushed notes.” I think you still do hear a lot of acciaccatura
in music these days in popular music and other places. It’s still pretty useful.

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