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Topic: problem with BACHs trills  (Read 4737 times)

Offline piani0player

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problem with BACHs trills
on: July 25, 2003, 09:00:18 AM
hi everyone
    i am very confuse with this A minor Prelude and Fuga BK2 no.20 by BACH ,because my teacher told me to start every trills on the melody note instead of starting the trills at the note above but i think the trills should always start on the note above for BACHs Prelude and Fuge.Is there a rules for BACHs trills or it doesn't really matter whether you start on  the top note or the melody note??

thank you
"imagine a little shepherd who takes refuge in a peaceful grotto from an approaching storm.  In the distance rushes the wind and the rain, while the shepherd gently plays a melody on his flute."

Offline Snuffel

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Re: problem with BACHs trills
Reply #1 on: July 25, 2003, 05:23:14 PM
This area is a real can of worms. The short answer is that no-one knows for sure but there are some examples of where Bach has written out ornaments and these do show trills beginning on the upper note. Personally I think you shouldn't get too dogmatic about it and let your ears be the judge. About the only rule that everyone agrees on is that the trill should start on a different note to the one immediately preceding it. e.g. if the trill is C-D and the preceding note is a C then always start on the D, if it is D then start on C.
If the preceding note is B then it sound more musical to my ears to start on C.
I guess at the end of the day ornamentation in Bach's time was largely left to the skill and taste of the performer.

Tom

Offline la_carrenio2003

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Re: problem with BACHs trills
Reply #2 on: July 30, 2003, 06:20:37 PM
There is a rule, written in the beginning of the Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's notebook: from the upper note, be sure of that. I've been in several Bach seminars, master classes in Germany and competitions: thrills from the note don't exist. Even once I heard from a professor of Harvard University: "Very nice to play the thrill like that, but it doesn't exist." If you don't play the thrills from the upper note in a Bach competition, you're certainly out. And in this particular fugue, when you're coming up and repeating the same note, even more.
"Soli Deo Gloria".
     J.S. Bach

Offline Hmoll

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Re: problem with BACHs trills
Reply #3 on: July 31, 2003, 07:18:12 PM
Bach - or middle to late Baroque-  trills for the most part begin on the upper - or auxiliary - note. The reason for this is the same reason appogiaturas begin on the beat, and are not played as grace notes. In both cases what the composer - or performer if he is adding the trill - is creating is what is called an "expressive dissonance." If you play a C in the bass, and trill the note of C in the treble, you start the trill on the beat with the upper note - D. The D in this case is a dissonance - assuming the harmony is a C chord.  This was a very common device in Baroque music.

The reason for the long explanation about expressive dissonances is performers started playing trills this way again relatively recently - about fifty years ago, but I may be wrong, and it may be more or less.  Before that performers were "following their ears" more, and playing trills in a more romantic fashion - on the note itself.  I'm not positive, but I think it was from scholarship into Baroque performance practices, and recognizing the importance of CPE Bach's book on the "true art of keyboard playing," as well as WF Bach's indications that made performers realize that they were not playing ornaments in an authentic fashion.

The danger with following your ear is, we do not have 17th century ears. While we play music of several stylistic periods, performers in Bach's time played only Baroque music, so the style of playing - including the ornamentation - was second nature to them, and they knew exactly what it should sound like.

For us, it's harder because we have to know how to play Baroque, Classical, Romantic and modern styles correctly.

The essence of Baroque music is the ornamentation, so it is fairly important to get it right.

There may be exceptions to the rule that trills start on the upper notes - for example when that upper note is the preceding note to the trill.  
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline piani0player

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Re: problem with BACHs trills
Reply #4 on: August 01, 2003, 09:16:40 AM
thank you for your time.

i think BACH always play his trills on the upper note and this should be the correct way but my teacher wants me play on the melody note.I wish J.S. BACH can tell him the correct way to play the trills. ???

"imagine a little shepherd who takes refuge in a peaceful grotto from an approaching storm.  In the distance rushes the wind and the rain, while the shepherd gently plays a melody on his flute."

Offline amee

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Re: problem with BACHs trills
Reply #5 on: August 01, 2003, 02:09:50 PM
At the moment I'm learning the Prelude and Fugue in G minor Bk 1.  The Prelude has got quite a few trills.  In my edition the trill is written out starting from the top note, but some pianists like Schnabel play the trill from the melody note.
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frederic Chopin

Offline Hmoll

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Re: problem with BACHs trills
Reply #6 on: August 01, 2003, 11:37:17 PM
amee,

Schnabel played trills that way most likely because during his lifetime that was stylistically the way performers played trills.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: problem with BACHs trills
Reply #7 on: August 13, 2003, 07:00:47 AM
In my inventions and sinfonias book, it has a picture of where bach writes out the meanings of the ornaments.

Trills start on the upper note, but mordents start on the melody note.

boliver
 

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