What is the (tr) sign in sheet music and how to play that in the following example: https://ibb.co/GPmmNqw


1 Answer 1


The 'tr' sign means a trill (some people call it a 'shake'). It's almost certainly in brackets because the composer didn't write a trill, but the editor thinks there should be one. Because it's approached from above, the trill should start on the lower note.

I'm not sure that the editor's fingering is the best - I'd use 5 4 3 1 and trill between 2 and 3 as I suspect the next note is a D. Works better for my fingers, anyway. Your mileage may vary. [Added later] I was having a bit of a senior moment here - for some reason I was thinking in D minor. In D major 5 4 3 2 1 is probably best, but you still might want to trill between 2/3. Personally I find a thumb trill tends to produce heaviness, and this piece seems to be too lightly scored for that.

  • I’d rather say the editor suggests to play a trill there. Because that trill would clearly contradict the staccato dots.
    – Lazy
    Mar 27, 2022 at 17:44
  • 1
    @Lazy it's possible to ornament a staccato note. Staccato does not mean "as short as possible." But the parentheses do indeed normally indicate that the sign is an editorial suggestion.
    – phoog
    Mar 27, 2022 at 18:17
  • @phoog Say what you want, but I do not see an obvious way of how to trill on a staccato note like this. At least not in any way that could not be simply done with a prall.
    – Lazy
    Mar 27, 2022 at 22:14
  • @Lazy the number of repetitions possible depends on the tempo and the performer's agility of course, as well as on how much the note is shortened. At a fairly relaxed minuet tempo it might be possible to get three shakes in and still have time to leave some space.
    – phoog
    Mar 28, 2022 at 11:38
  • @phoog Sure, you’re right.
    – Lazy
    Mar 28, 2022 at 16:21

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