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The Piano Baroque Ornament

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In the Baroque style ornaments were very common. Keyboard players not only played the notated ornaments, but also used to embellish melodies according to their own taste.

The ornaments in the Baroque genre usually occur on the beat - in other words, the first note of the ornament is played instead of the principal note.

The following table of Baroque ornaments is made by J.S. Bach's father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, and it includes various ornaments that were common in those days.

Baroque Ornaments

Some of the ornaments include a large number of notes. However, if the melody is played rapidly it may be impossible to play all the notes of the ornament.
As an example, let's take the first indicated ornament above-the Trillo (trill). It includes six notes. If it is written in a melody that should be played fast, you might find it impossible to play all six notes while keeping the tempo.

What would you do in this case?
You may play four notes only.

Sometimes, in slow movements six notes will not be enough.
What would you in that case?
You may play eight notes or even more.

Notice that there are some quite complicated ornaments in the table above. Don't panic!. I always recommend first to play the music without performing the ornaments, and when your playing is fluent you may try to use them.

Click here to learn about more piano ornaments.

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