Piano Forum



Remembering the great Maurizio Pollini
Legendary pianist Maurizio Pollini defined modern piano playing through a combination of virtuosity of the highest degree, a complete sense of musical purpose and commitment that works in complete control of the virtuosity. His passing was announced by Milanís La Scala opera house on March 23. Read more >>

Topic: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.  (Read 11376 times)

Offline larapool

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Hello!

I have the urtext (Henle Verlag) edition of Bach's inventions/simfonias.  I read this as I listen to recordings to see how various pianists play the pieces.  Strangely, though, a lot of the players skip 90% of the ornamentations in this piece, which I find strange.  Bach intended for them to be here - why not play them?  It's a very baroque addition and I feel the piece sounds incomplete without them.  I understand each pianist gives his or her own 'spice' to the piece (like Glenn Gould playing the piece too fast and not playing the long trills in the bars halfway through the piece...), but I wish more people would include them in their performances.

Also, an even bigger problem is that every recording that does play the trills plays them differently than I'm used to.  For example, there's a trill on a quarter note at the beginning of a piece, on an F#.  A trill is supposed to start above the target note, so in this case it should start on G.  However, everybody plays the trill on F#.  Why is this acceptable?  Is it because the trill is not several measures long, therefore it's more acceptable to treat it differently?

I've also seen somebody here ask about the long trills in this piece, and there was an image in it saying that, for the long trills later in the piece, you can start on the target note instead of starting a step above it.

I ask because I'm trying to understand how to play the trills and mordants correctly in this piece... but every recording seems to play the ornamentations differently from how I've always been taught them.  So it almost seems like I have to decide for myself how to play each individual ornament, and if they're trills, whether or not I should play them on the starting note!

Sorry for such a long post, but this is really confusing me!  I always thought I understood trills until this piece confused me..
Sign up for a Piano Street membership to download this piano score.
Sign up for FREE! >>

Offline aintgotnorhythm

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 58
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #1 on: June 09, 2011, 04:56:32 AM
I have come across the same issue. I have two different editions of the inventions (not the urtext one) and in one the trill you mention in the 2nd bar is a mordant beginning on F# and in the other it is a mordant beginning on G. Likewise one edition has the long trill beginning on C and the other on D.

Presumably the differences arise because there are conflicting original documents showing variations in the ornaments and the editors of the various editions have interpreted these in different ways. So I don't think there is a definitive right way to do it and it is up to you to choose.

Offline larapool

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 06:38:40 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only person who was confused by this.  I talked with my (former) piano professor from my old school and he said how you approach a trill basically depends on the context of the piece.  So I suppose it is a bit arbitrary as to how you should play it, although I'm seeing this pattern when I hear people play Bach (or other music, but Bach specifically because of this issue) - always try to start on the note above, unless the previous note before the trilled note is the same.

For example, in this piece, the first trill is an F# so you would start on G, technically, but the note preceding the trilled F# is a G.  I played this both ways and trilling from F# to E sounds much more pleasant than G to F#.

Offline fleetfingers

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 621
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #3 on: June 10, 2011, 07:35:57 PM
A professional violinst told me that in baroque music, ornamentations are optional and interchangeable.

Offline pianowolfi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5654
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #4 on: June 10, 2011, 07:45:18 PM
Here you have the interpretive opinion of a period instrument musician:



This invention starts at 4:38

Gould's interpretation of it is in my book absurd, though I really usually appreciate Gould. I think he was completely bored by this piece and played it as fast as he could.

Offline larapool

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #5 on: June 10, 2011, 08:00:33 PM
Thank you for that!

I agree about Gould.  I actually have his recordings of the Inventions and Simfonias, and I usually listen to them to get a feel for the songs, but this one in particular... I don't care for it.  He goes too fast and the ornamentations are completely lost, especially the long trills.

Offline tails

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 14
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #6 on: June 10, 2011, 11:33:36 PM
Ornaments are quite.. vary depending on the version of the sheet you're using.
My version (Bach Gesselshaft) shows a LOT of ornaments, and the long trills only show as a normal mordent, so interpreters could even only play it as a mordent if they're "fooled".

Offline bachbrahmsschubert

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 162
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #7 on: June 11, 2011, 06:03:38 AM
Ornaments during the baroque era are interchangeable. Some editions have certain markings, while others do not; it is up to the performer to decide what is best suited for the piece.

Baroque trills will typically start from above the note unless otherwise noted. You can find definitions of these articulations from Bach himself if you search online. Also keep in mind that Baroque trills start ON the beat. So often I hear trills from Bach interpreted like one would trill Chopin. Be cautious.

Gould did whatever the hell he wanted. The only reason he gets away with it is because every voice is brought out to absolute perfection. Before Gould, no one had ever heard Bach played like that. He is my favorite pianist. I do not suggest following Glenn Gould's ornamentation/changes in the music. Amateurs will quickly be disregarded as fools.

Offline chomikchomik

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 17
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #8 on: June 14, 2011, 05:46:34 PM
As far as i know in Bach every trill is played from the note above, unless it's under tie (Bach's original tie!).

Offline rmbarbosa

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 453
Re: Question about trills/mordants in Bach's Invention No. 10.
Reply #9 on: June 14, 2011, 09:09:13 PM
When Bach wrote invention no 10, he didnt put the mordents. They are a latter adiction (of Bach, of course). So, you may play this gigue with or without mordents. Neverthless, with mordents it sounds better.
Like other fellows told you, there`s a great variety in order to interpret trills and mordents in Bach`s music.
Here, in this forum, there`s a brilliant explanation about this Invention by Bernhard. You may wish to search it in the right top of this page (search) - you may put invention no 10 bach bernhard. Have a look, because the structure of this Invention is a very interesting one.
Best wishes
Rui
For more information about this topic, click search below!
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert