Flute – The Trill in the Classical Period (1750–1820) Pt 3


Flute – The Trill in the Classical Period (1750–1820) Pt 3

Flute – The Trill in the Classical Period (1750–1820) Pt 3

Flute – In his Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen of 1753 (English translation by W. J. Mitchell as “Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments”, Eulenburg, 1974), C. P. E. Bach gives an encylopedic description of the types of trills (prefixes, suffixes, length) and the contexts where each type should or may be used. Both upper and lower-note starts are illustrated, but never a main-note start. Among a list of “other errors as ugly as they are frequent”, he lists “plunging directly into a trill without playing a preceding appoggiatura….”

Among the instances of trills without suffix are the very short and rapid trills called Pralltrillers. In English sources, these are called half shakes, passing shakes, transient shakes, etc. C. P. E. Bach shows it with an upper-note start. On the right, below, is an example in context, with his fingering for the keyboard.

The Pralltriller according to C. P. E. Bach, 1753.

The Pralltriller works fine on a harpsichord, but he mentions that this ornament cannot be done well on the piano, even on the light fortepianos of his day, because the extreme quickness of the required snap tends to cause a piano player to play it too loudly. Flutists should remember that the Pralltriller in this form is quick but light.

Leopold Mozart, in the 1787 edition of his treatise, includes an illustration of the Pralltriller:

The Pralltriller according to Leopold Mozart, 1787.

Daniel Gottlieb Türk’s Klavier-Schule of 1789 is another very detailed and influential method. (English translation by R. H. Haggh: “School of Clavier Playing”, U. of Nebraska, 1982.)

The trill without termination according to D. G. Türk (1789). Correct (a) and incorrect (b).

Türk goes on to criticize composers who indicate the upper note start with a small appoggiatura, saying it can only confuse the player as it is “basically quite superfluous”. That is, according to Türk, it is not intended to indicate anything unusual, but was the normal thing to do.

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