Take the 2-minute tour ×
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Excerpt of PAchelbel's Canon for 3 violins and a cello- arr. Epstein

The Photo attached has a quaver marked with a red rectangle. Τhere is a symbol on that quaver that I do not recognize. It looks like a mordent but it's clearly different from one. Can anyone tell me what it is and how should I play it?

Also, does it apply for violin 2 and violin 3 as well?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Just looks like a trill to me. (Pretty certain that's a "t" not an "f".) The problem is, it clashes with the note. It should be above the stave.

share|improve this answer
I thought you only use tr. when you mean trill. So there is no mordent here? or is it both? –  Sazid_violin Apr 9 '14 at 13:55
You can have trills on short notes, in which case it effectively becomes little more than a mordent (unless the tempo is really slow of course!) You are more likely to see these short trills in older music. It's an idiomatic cadence figure, in particular. And this is a V-I cadence. (Bit weird that the trill note doesn't rise to the tonic though!) BTW, where did you find this music? Looks like string quartet music, but with the Viola part put onto Violin... Just thought that was quite interesting... –  Bob Broadley Apr 9 '14 at 14:00
This is from IMSLP (International music score Library Project) where free music scores of western classical music is stored and there are different arrangements and renditions for a particular piece too. This one is PAchelbel's Canon in D arranged for 3 violins and a violoncello arranged by Yoel Epstein probably. –  Sazid_violin Apr 9 '14 at 14:08
As a violinist, I absentmindedly started fingering the score before trying to figure out what it was, and my fingers knew the piece before I did! –  adsmith Apr 9 '14 at 16:32
Yes, you should use tr, not just t. I'm pretty sure that the r is just obscured by the note. Someone screwed up the placement really badly... –  Pat Muchmore Apr 9 '14 at 21:08

I agree with Bob, Looks to me when I zoom in like it's a trill, but something's gone wrong in printing and it's placed the symbol too low.

This is a fairly common problem that comes up when people are using the music writing software Sibelius, at least in my experience!

share|improve this answer
Yep, if you have the latest version of Sibelius, you can set it up not to clash (magnetic? Can't check, I'm in McDonalds with my son....!) –  Bob Broadley Apr 9 '14 at 13:10

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.