Mozart 3

September 17, 2018, 4:25 AM · Hello all. (I believe this to be) a fairly simple question for you all. In the third bar of Mozart's G major concerto there is a trill on the C natural. I was just just wondering about what the best way to execute it would be?
Thanks in advance!

Replies (19)

September 17, 2018, 4:48 AM ·

1:20 on this video shows the standard ornament for that note.

D-C-B-C D E, G F# F#

September 17, 2018, 7:13 AM · I do C-D-C-B-C D E G F# F#
September 17, 2018, 7:32 AM · I do like Joel.
Edited: September 17, 2018, 8:14 AM · The usual convention for Mozart and earlier is to trill from above. I play this eighth note C "trill" as 4 32nd notes: D-C-B-C - and then go on to D, E, etc. Not a "real" trill, more of a "turn."
September 17, 2018, 8:44 AM · Agree with Gemma and Andrew.
September 17, 2018, 1:31 PM · I knew to start on the upper note, it just didn't sound right. Thanks all for your help
Edited: September 19, 2018, 10:53 AM · It actually depends on the context. In this case I would agree with Joel+Paul and start from the C. From what 2 of my teachers Igor Ozim and Reinhard Goebel (both experts in historical performance practice) explained to me, one only starts on the upper note of the trill if the previous note has a greater distance of a 3rd or more. So since this is a stepwise motion from B-C-D-E, they suggest to begin on the lower note in order to clearly show the scale. I completely agree with this and see how it makes sense and I think your instinct that it didn't sound right to start on the upper note is correct. Always trust your instincts! :) Also a note to Gemma K, in that video of Hahn you posted, she actually starts the trill on the C, not the D. Furthermore, she doesn't even play the whole sequence! From what I can hear in the slow motion setting, she plays C B C D E. Anyway regardless of what she did what she did with that trill, the most important thing is that she began on the lower note, C.

Let's look at another example:

at 1:50 I would say that Oistrakh here should have instead started from the bottom note to show D-Eb-F

at 2:48 The pianist correctly begins on the upper note since the note before was an interval of a 3rd and not stepwise.

September 18, 2018, 11:18 AM · James, you are right that Hahn starts on C, but you are wrong that she plays just a CBC for that ornamented C we are discussing, she actually plays a CDCBC, if you playback slowly you cannot hear the D, it is chopped off the slowed-down audio, but you clearly see her third finger going twice to a D. fun discussion!
Edited: September 18, 2018, 11:38 AM · Jean Dubuisson hm yes you're right, now I can see her 3rd finger going twice to the D! But for some reason I don't hear it twice even in real time speed... maybe it was a slight execution error or maybe my hearing is a little off haha. In any case, when she plays the reprise she does indeed go to the D twice.
September 19, 2018, 9:14 AM · perhaps Hahn is human after all :-)
Edited: September 19, 2018, 10:11 AM · I just went and listened to Josh Bell, Gidon Kremer, and Julia Fischer playing this piece. My hearing isn't the best, but honestly it's really hard for ME to tell which way they're playing that ornament -- start on C or not? My best guess after listening to each a few times (and without the benefit of slow-down software) is that they're starting on the D and executing a basic turn. Of the three, Bell's was either the fastest or the least clean -- again I can't really tell.

The take-home for ME is that if it's that hard to tell, and if you need slow-down software to decide how top soloists are playing it, then you might as well play it the easiest way, which starts on D because that's one fewer note that you have to execute. That's what I'll do from now on!

A corollary to that argument is that ornaments are even harder for the orchestra to execute cleanly. Now, we know that the orchestra part is not always a perfect mirror of the solo part, but from those three recordings it really sounds like Bar 3 of the orchestra part is trying to do the same thing as Bar (Intro+3) of the solo part. And again, it's very hard for ME to hear exactly what is being played there.

I need to get that slow-down software. Willing to spend on something good.

Edited: September 19, 2018, 11:19 AM · Paul, the slow down function is built into youtube for free :) It's easiest to find if you are on a computer rather than mobile phone. Simply hover over the bottom right corner of the video screen and click on the cogwheel icon. There you will see a pop up menu which includes choice of speed.

Bell and Fischer begin on C, while Kremer begins on D. You are right in saying Bell's is the least clean, because there is actually hardly any clean trace of B in his ornament.

By starting on D, to me it begins to sound very much like some random upbeat into D E, as opposed to starting on C which clearly defines the melodic skeleton of C D E.

I think it is very possible to play it cleanly beginning on C, however it is difficult even for top level soloists (as we can hear...) and probably depends on the limit of finger velocity one has. I suspect some small percentage of it is natural, but velocity can largely be attained through certain exercises with disciplined and systematic metronome practice of rhythms + gradual increase of speed over a very long time.

September 19, 2018, 12:57 PM · I think Mozart has to take some of the blame for this.
September 25, 2018, 8:12 PM · How about the trills in the opening theme of the Allegro Aperto of Mozart 5? From the top also? Bars 47, 48, and 51, I believe.
September 27, 2018, 5:26 PM · Anyone?
September 28, 2018, 9:27 PM · This seems like unnecessary attention to detail to me. If you need to slow down recordings to figure out what exactly people are playing the question does have no practical relevance. I haven't worked on this piece for decades but I would play just c-d-c (or maybe d-c-d-c). No turn to b at this tempo. There are plenty of more important decisions to make along the way through this concerto.
Edited: September 28, 2018, 10:13 PM · Albrecht I'm right there with you, but discussing such minor points is an entertaining pastime too. Also just because I need to slow it down to hear it doesn't mean others do.

I really would like to know whether the mantra of "start the trill from the top" applies to the trills in the opening theme of M5.

September 28, 2018, 11:25 PM · I was taught the trills from the top in Mozart 5 opening, at least.
September 29, 2018, 3:40 AM · Probably the top, since the previous note was the same and we have that in the back of our mind, however in this case I wouldn't actually mind if someone started from the bottom either. Opening of Moz G should definitely be from bottom though.

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