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Trill on open string?

Greta Schmidt

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When a trill is called for on an open string, say a D, do you do that from the 4th finger on the G string? So you'd be trilling C (or C#)/D?

I must be having a brain lapse with such a stupid question. I used to play flute and certainly played enough trills in the days. I'm also working hard on the 4th finger again now that I have the new fiddle and the shoulder rest combo to ease my movement.

- Greta

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A trill is formed by slurring the indicated note alternately with the next note above (whole or half step, as indicated - the interval could be greater than a whole step if the composer wished, but at some point you might stop calling it a "trill"). The trill is typically started on the indicated note (trilling to the note above) for composers later than Mozart and on the note above (trilling down to the indicated note) for Mozart and earlier (there may be exceptions - if it sounds more appropriate for the music - Heifetz, for example trilled Mozart starting on the indicated note - and to me it never sounded right- even whe HE did it).

So - a trill involving an open string would have to have that as the "indicated note" and combined it in the trill with the half or whole step above. Although one might play this combination at times, one would more likely play the trill with the 2nd and 3rd fingers on the string below (in the third position). Second position with 3rd and 4th fingers is also a possibility, but a 4th finger trill is harder to do. One might also do the trill in fourth position with 1st and 2nd fingers, depending on what music preceded or followed the trill - but third position is easiest to get to accurately if there is no compelling reason to do it some other way.


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