Audio: ornament (0:08)

Figure: ornament

ornament plays four ornamented variants of elision and ellipsis on a honky-tonk piano. The ornament figure shows the score:

  • The top part of the score shows an ornament symbol added to a note.
  • The bottom part is not played. It shows the ornament written out in full notation.
  • The first bar shows an acciaccatura on the final note, C. An acciaccatura is a note with a very short duration that precedes another note. It can start on the note above the next note, as in the D before the C in ornament, or it can start on the note below.
  • The second bar shows a reverse turn on the second note, A. The reverse turn, or inverted turn, contains the four note sequence G-A-B-A. It starts on G, moves to A, then to the note above, B, before returning to the main note, A. An ordinary turn is the sequence B-A-G-A.
  • The third bar shows a lower mordent on the second note, A, followed by an upper mordent on the third note, B. A mordent is a sequence of three notes with the note below (lower mordent) or above (upper mordent) sandwiched in between. The timing is pretty much discretionary, in ornament both mordents are played as triplets.
  • The fourth bar shows a trill on the penultimate note, B. A trill is two adjacent notes played alternately and rapidly. The trill in ornament is the main note, B, and the note above it, C. The trill can start and end on either note.

An ornament is decoration added to a note.

An ornament symbol is a type of articulation mark. Its purpose is the same as any articulation mark, to direct the performance of the music. Some ornaments have been used so much over the years that they have their very own symbol and name.

All the ornaments in ornament are diatonic. An ornament can also be played on a chromatic note that is not part of the key to add extra spice to the music.

Ornamentation is musical bling. An ornament in music does exactly the same as an ornament in fashion, it decorates. It is your decision to ornament or not and whether to be outrageous or subdued.