How to Play a Trill

Regardless of the instrument being played, a trill is a straightforward process that all musicians should learn within their first year of study. There are two types of trills performed in the same way, with a small modification. With trills, there are always two notes that quickly alternate. To play trills, the performer must first determine the two notes involved in the trill and then alternate between those notes.

Step 1 Identify the type of trill requested by the music. If there is symbol an italicized "tr" abbreviation above the note, you will trill up to the next note in the key from the notated pitch. If there is a flat superscript next to the abbreviation you will trill a semitone up from the notated pitch.

Step 2 Start the trill on the first notated pitch and then alternate quickly between the notated pitch and the trilled pitch.

Step 3 Practice the trill so that it starts slowly and gradually increases in speed over the length of the piece. Tips If you are playing a Baroque piece written from 1600 to 1750, the trill starts with the note above and comes down to the notated pitch.


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