Mozart Rondo K.494 b.178

Mozart K.494 b.178 near the end of the movement. (This is the 3rd movement of the sonata K.533/K.494)

This is in bass clef BTW. This image is the Bärenreiter edition. Henle puts only the turn option.

This looks like a turn while the note is tied — how do you play this? If I try "D4 C4 B♭3 C4" — doesn't that interrupt the tie? Do you actually sound the C4 at the start of the next bar?

This play-with-score version on YouTube doesn't have the turn at this part 25:24 (older edition perhaps?)

Link to timestamp:

Adding a picture of the 2nd turn as answer below suggests a B natural for the first turn: enter image description here


2 Answers 2


Playing the turn

Your instinct is correct. The turn would be played C-D-C-B-C (B natural) as a triplet with the final left-hand eighth note, ending on the tied C in the following measure.

Notated version of explanation

This is also true of the turn six bars later, except that it would start on D: D-C-B-C.

It's unexpected that the turn symbols don't include a natural sign underneath. However, it's aesthetically obvious in the sense that since the C is the note being ornamented/emphasized, the B (the leading tone in this context) does the job with more intensity that the Bb.

Recorded evidence

In his recording of the original Rondo in F, Perahia can be heard playing the turns this way.

Shiff and Uchida agree.

Contrary evidence

However, in their recordings of the Sonata, both Gilels and Goode omit the turns, as does Brendel in the F major Rondo.

  • Curious — why B natural and not B♭ of the key signature. (Admittedly B natural does sound "nice"). 6 bars later there is a turn on C3 — should that be B natural or B♭? (There is no accidental written on that turn). Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 4:21
  • 2
    @AnthonyAlba Aesthetically, the goal is to decorate and emphasize the C, so using the C's leading tone (B natural) does a better job of that than the Bb. I would play the later turn also would B natural, which is corroborated by a quick check of the Perahia records. He plays that turn with B natural.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 4:27
  • It's not clear to me whether this means you should play the C again at the start of the measure. I would assume not, based on your transcription. But then why is a tie written at all?
    – trlkly
    Commented Aug 28, 2022 at 7:21
  • @trlkly The C at the start of the measure is the end of the turn, so does get played again. The tie is there because in terms of musical interpretation the passage should be views as one long (tied) C, even though in performance there is a turn.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 28, 2022 at 15:17

A tie simply means that multiple notes are combined into a single note. A turn on the other hand is an ornament, and thus something like a way to play a single note. If the note is longer the turn can be delayed, or even (as in this case) in fact become a transition into the next note. In fact, you can use tied notes to actually pinpoint the location where such an ornament should be executed.

So no, the turn does not interrupt the tie, as the tie does not in fact mean "there may be no interruption between these notes" but it means "treat me as one single note".

In fact in more complex rhythmic notation notes that could be notated as single notes are often notated using ties for clarity. Compare these ways of notating the same figure:

enter image description here

  • So, you're saying that the turn should be placed between the tied eighth-note C and the D? ("as in this case, become a transition to the next note" ... the "next note" being D?)
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 4:31
  • @Aaron At least the probably most logical way to play that turn is like you scored out in your answer, forming a transition into the next note, being the D. Which is presume is also what the editor intended to convey with that bar through the turn (unless this is supposed to be a weird take on a Haydn ornament?).
    – Lazy
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 7:38
  • To lead to the D, the turn would be placed between the eighth-note C and D. The turn in this case is ornamenting the C itself.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 7:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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