Trill » Special playing styles - Philipp Dangas


Description of the playing technique trill

Technically, the trill is performed as a finger tremolo over a minor or major second. The open strings are usually not used. In order to avoid using the 3 upper open strings, the corresponding trills are played in the 3rd or 4th position of the respective lower strings.

Since the fingering distances are very narrow in the highest register, no higher trills than, say, a3 should be prescribed for performance by the group in the orchestra.

Note: With regard to the accuracy of the articulation, it is useful to use a slur to indicate how far the trill should be performed with one and the same bow stroke.

The trill line indicates how far the legato performance should go without re-articulation, in cases where the pitch of the trill changes. If the line of the trill is broken (the stipulation "tr" is reapplied), the trill must be re-articulated.

Trills as part of the „symphonic world music“

The use of the trill can shape transitions tonally. And at the same time clearly emphasizing. Especially with a minor second on the 4th string between g and a flat. The effect can be absolutely „hard“.

Key data for the special playing technique of trill

»tr« for trills
One finger holds the pitch and the adjacent finger picks up a second on the same string. The second can be minor or major, alternating with the first.
A metallic, glassy sound.
2 rapidly alternating tones at one second intervals.
(a) Usually one writes about the note in question
Standard notation of a trill
(b) »tr« recommended only for shorter note values without slurs
Notation of a trill without a slur
(c) trill sign (with wavy line) in a sequence of trills in legato
Notation of a trill in legato
(d + e) The trill line replaces the slur. It is often necessary to indicate the type of seconds forming the trill by placing appropriate accidentals next to the trill sign or by placing a small stemless head in brackets after the main note
Notation of a trill with accidental
(f) If the trill begins on the top note, this is written as a suspension or grace note.
Notation as a suspension or grace note

Downloads for the trill - Score by Gustav Mahler

Sound file for the score
"3rd Symphony 1st movement"
Download size: 553 kilobytes
PDF file for the score
"3rd Symphony 1st movement"
Download–size: 113 Kilobytes

Note on the score with an example on the trill

Two graphics with a score excerpt follow. Excerpt from the “3. Symphony 1st movement”. Composition by Gustav Mahler. An example of the trill. The graphics can also be enlarged. They are Link-Sensitive [Clickable].