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#2320475 - 08/27/14 03:55 AM Timing of the trill Invention no 1
DreamOfSleeping Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 19
I've just started learning Bach's invention no 1 and I'm trying to play the trill in the first bar. I've been researching it and I know there is some debate on what notes to play, but I think I will stick with C-B-C-B, as that's what most of the examples seem to be on youtube.

What I'm not sure about is the timing, and how the right hand interacts with the left hand. Do I play the trill like it is a 32nd note? If that is the case does that mean the second C of the trill should be played at the same time as the D note of the left hand?

I notice when I play it without thinking about it I tend to play the second C slightly before that D note of the left hand, so it's not really completely in time at all. I'm trying to listen to other people's playing but I can quite catch what they are doing.
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#2320477 - 08/27/14 03:58 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: DreamOfSleeping]
DreamOfSleeping Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 19
Actually I was wrong. I've been playing the entire trill (all four notes) before that D in the left hand plays.
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#2320479 - 08/27/14 04:13 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: DreamOfSleeping]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 822
Loc: Finland
Don't have the score, but in general baroque trills are best played starting from the upper note and always on the beat. The speed of the trill depends on what you can do. Think of them as part of the melody and play what you can do clearly, as a regular division of the meter. Otherwise it's ok to use one's own judgement on what sounds good and when to end the trill. Personally I tend to shorten and slow down the trill if it's otherwise too difficult to handle it properly in the time given by the meter.

Trills sound different with the pedal, which is often used in recordings. I don't use the pedal for baroque so my trills sound harder, especially on an upright...


Edited by outo (08/27/14 04:23 AM)

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#2320487 - 08/27/14 04:43 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: DreamOfSleeping]
DreamOfSleeping Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 19
Thanks very much for replying. That answers my question.
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#2320514 - 08/27/14 07:39 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: DreamOfSleeping]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
I usually check charts like the one here:

http://www.pennuto.com/music/jsb_ornm.htm
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#2320529 - 08/27/14 08:26 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: DreamOfSleeping]
fizikisto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 725
Loc: Hernando, MS
sinophilia
That's a very handy reference! bookmarked. Thanks smile
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#2320611 - 08/27/14 11:07 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: DreamOfSleeping]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Well it looks like the question has been answered satisfactorily so I'll add after the event that the trill in question used to be played as a mordent.

Editors Czerny and Busoni both took the ornament as a mordent, B,A,B. Modern editors use the trill, C,B,C,B. I believe the manuscript has been edited to appear as a mordent. I cannot vouch for the provenance of the facsimile of the manuscript I've seen but the trill is marked in pen and the line through it, turning it into a mordent, in pencil as an afterthought or correction.

Whenever I learn Baroque pieces I go with the unornamented version first to get a feel for the melody and try to understand where and why it should be embellished before working out what the decoration is supposed to be. I believe the mordent reinforces the melody better whereas the trill changes it.

The erudite Sir Donald Francis Tovey said that all Bach's ornaments follow three simple rules: a) they begin on the beat and never before it, b) they run from the top downwards, never from the lowest note upwards, and c) they never begin by repeating the preceding note, that is, they never break the legato. It is rule c) that, for me, defines this particular ornament as a mordent.
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#2320620 - 08/27/14 11:26 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: DreamOfSleeping]
Ataru074 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 391
Loc: Houston, TX
here, the pralltriller is what you are looking for.

http://www.iment.com/maida/familytree/henry/music/bachnotation.htm#o14
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#2320625 - 08/27/14 11:40 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: zrtf90]
fizikisto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 725
Loc: Hernando, MS
I never even thought to look for those commonalities. That's a very astute observation, and very helpful!

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
The erudite Sir Donald Francis Tovey said that all Bach's ornaments follow three simple rules: a) they begin on the beat and never before it, b) they run from the top downwards, never from the lowest note upwards, and c) they never begin by repeating the preceding note, that is, they never break the legato. It is rule c) that, for me, defines this particular ornament as a mordent.
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#2320630 - 08/27/14 11:58 AM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: DreamOfSleeping]
DreamOfSleeping Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 19
The edition I have has a mordent. I looked up what a mordent was and it wasn't what I heard most people play on youtube. I've now found someone who does play the mordent though, and quite like it. I might stick with it. I think the people playing it CBCB are be playing it in 64th notes to make it fit, if it's four notes between two 16th notes.
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#2320709 - 08/27/14 02:45 PM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: zrtf90]
Michael Sayers Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1285
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Editors Czerny and Busoni both took the ornament as a mordent, B,A,B. Modern editors use the trill, C,B,C,B. I believe the manuscript has been edited to appear as a mordent. I cannot vouch for the provenance of the facsimile of the manuscript I've seen but the trill is marked in pen and the line through it, turning it into a mordent, in pencil as an afterthought or correction.

Whenever I learn Baroque pieces I go with the unornamented version first to get a feel for the melody and try to understand where and why it should be embellished before working out what the decoration is supposed to be. I believe the mordent reinforces the melody better whereas the trill changes it.

The erudite Sir Donald Francis Tovey said that all Bach's ornaments follow three simple rules: a) they begin on the beat and never before it, b) they run from the top downwards, never from the lowest note upwards, and c) they never begin by repeating the preceding note, that is, they never break the legato. It is rule c) that, for me, defines this particular ornament as a mordent.

I've always done the B-A-B (and with the B-A before the beat, contrary to Tovey). It is admirable to want to know what is "correct" yet through this one can lose sight of the big picture - much of what is correct is connected to an interpretation outside of our access. Rather than anchor one's interpretation, which can't be that of the master, around a particular correctness, maybe it is better to interpret naturally and adjust for this at least in the details to avoid possible incongruencies within the total result.

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#2320888 - 08/27/14 11:39 PM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: Michael Sayers]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 160
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
I've always done the B-A-B (and with the B-A before the beat, contrary to Tovey). It is admirable to want to know what is "correct" yet through this one can lose sight of the big picture - much of what is correct is connected to an interpretation outside of our access. Rather than anchor one's interpretation, which can't be that of the master, around a particular correctness, maybe it is better to interpret naturally and adjust for this at least in the details to avoid possible incongruencies within the total result.

The big picture is that Baroque ornaments are not played before the beat, and information about that convention isn't outside of our access at all. A natural interpretation can be historically accurate, and internal incongruity is best avoided when concrete criteria are available to a performer. I think that's the point other posters have effectively made already.

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#2321113 - 08/28/14 12:41 PM Re: Timing of the trill Invention no 1 [Re: Goomer Piles]
Michael Sayers Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1285
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
The big picture is that Baroque ornaments are not played before the beat, and information about that convention isn't outside of our access at all. A natural interpretation can be historically accurate, and internal incongruity is best avoided when concrete criteria are available to a performer. I think that's the point other posters have effectively made already.

In a historically accurate interpretation of Bach's music the inclusion and placement of ornamentation, along with what the ornamentation is, is improvised. The goal being suggested here isn't to be "historically accurate" but to fulfill the cantabile requirement of playing the C Major Invention on a piano - cantabile on a harpsichord or clavichord is contributed to through ornamentation on the beat, a practice which as you know underwent changes as well toward simplification in the piano era with its accentuation of legato and metrically more smoothed out playing styles.

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