Difference Between a Mordent and a Turn?

February 26, 2004 at 05:58 AM · What is the difference between a mordent (the symbol that looks like a wave) and a turn (the symbol that looks like a sideward S) above a note? I think with a mordent you only go down a semi tone(or up) once and then back to the original note, where as in a turn you go up a semi-tone, then back to the original note, then down a semi-tone, then back up to the original note. Is this right? I hope I haven't confused anyone.



Replies (3)

February 26, 2004 at 10:47 AM · Yep, that sounds right, although not necessarily a semi-tone; can be a tone too.

February 27, 2004 at 02:51 AM · Kevin, that's right; and whether it's a tone or semitone depends on your key, plus any accidental signs. A mordent is to the note above if the symbol is a zigzag, and to the note below if the zigzag is crossed.

February 27, 2004 at 08:31 AM · Thanks Sue and Gregory;

I thought that was the right way, but since they have been showing up more and more in the pieces that I am playing, I thought I better make sure.


This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

2023 Authenticate LA: Los Angeles Violin Shop
2023 Authenticate LA

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide


Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop



Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine