Friday, October 20, 2017

Ornaments: Grace Notes, Appogiaturas, Trills, Grupetti

Like a map in the lid of a chocolate box.
Dear Flute-lovers,

I previously wrote a post on Flute Trills and how to read and play them for flute students just starting trills.
Since then, I've had several requests for sources for flute baroque/classical ornamentation that goes into a little more depth. Of course there is the historically researched resource of music theory online.

But perhaps the best, most concise resource I have found is this one;

Ornaments by Arthur Brooke (download a 2.7 mb free pdf of all ornaments for flute explained.)

Please help yourself to the above ( taken from the IMSLP public domain method book).
 I just extracted all the pertinent pages, if you don't want to search through the whole book.
I hope this helps everyone to have a basic source from which to know "the rules" before artistically bending and breaking them. I'm all for creativity rather than "correctness" but we all need to have a bit of history on what all the symbols meant and what previous players did when interpreting them.

And, of course, just remember that printed music is also full of strange editions and mis-prints where the ornaments are written wrongly. I suggest simply writing in the ornament in your own short-hand once you've decided how to execute it by experimentation.

Listening to recordings can really help in the case of uncertainty to what sounds best in a piece of sheetmusic that has symbols that could be misrepresented.

With trills, and starting on the upper note, I like Brooke's suggestion for writing IN an upper auxiliary once you've decided that your early Classical or Baroque piece should have some of the trills beginning on the note above (at important cadence points especially.)

Grace Notes:

Grace notes at a glance: the long and short.


(click on jpg to enlarge, then use back button to return).
See more at:



(click on jpg to enlarge)

See more at:
 Hope this helps.

More concise pdf flute ornament handouts; very few pages to print; previous posts:

1. How to read flute trills and tremelos (free pdf)

2. How to read and rhythmically calculate the performance of Grupetti/Grupettos (free pdf)

Today's addition: Larger file free pdf from Jen:
All flute ornaments explained with examples (Arthur Brooke Vol.1 extracts - pdf)
Read from your computer as a pdf for scrolling through instead of printing.

Comments welcome. :>)

Comments (2)
Blogger Jamie Ong Voice Creator Studio said...

Thank you, this is very informative! I am looking for the name of four little 16th notes before a main crotchet note. I thought it should be a turn, but the note name are G, A, C, B, A (the main note). It has leap and I wonder can these notes be categorize as turn/gruppetto?

Saturday, July 18, 2020 11:31:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

You can look it up for sure at Dolmecsh music theory library (link in main article), but I think it's a gruppetto.....not an expert though......

Sunday, July 19, 2020 7:09:00 AM


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