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The trill or any ornamentation is optional but seems like it is usually there. I am familiar with this melody more generally as part of an authentic cadence, but this particular rhythm seems very common in some types of music and I am having trouble figuring out if there is a name for this and from which piece it might be most widely recognized for an average person.

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  • Welcome! Please use the "edit" button to explain a bit more. Are you focusing on the two 16th notes? If so, that's nachschlag. Or are you asking about the practice of adding a trill at a cadence? That's a much bigger conversation about performance practice, and doesn't have a particular name. Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 23:47
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    ... or maybe the closest name for "the practice of adding a trill to the leading tone of a cadence, whether indicated or not" is "cadential trill." I've heard this used in baroque music rehearsals—"Should we omit the cadential trill in measure 11?" Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 0:19
  • This is common in the baroque or classical periods and less common outside of that time. Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 1:54
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    I'm voting to close as unclear: you mention both "melody" and "rhythm," and I'm honestly not sure whether you're asking about the practice of ornamenting cadences, or about this particular ornament, maybe focusing on the nachschlag. Please use the "edit" button and I'll be happy to remove my close-vote. Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 16:07

2 Answers 2

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JS Bach calls it the Trillo und mordant (trill and mordent): enter image description here


It is notated in one of three ways (note that baroque composers felt that the use of tr was not always necessary):

enter image description here


Appoggiaturas are used when the composer wants to specify the length of starting and ending notes. If the first upper tone is shorter, there is no need to write a preceding note since trills in the baroque period always start on the upper tone unless specified.

In your case, you would add an appoggiatura since the first upper tone is held for a nontrivial time such as a quarter note. The trill in this case is called an enclosed trill:

enter image description here

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  • "you would add an appoggiatura": not necessarily. It depends on when the piece was written.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 22:11
  • Also the trill and mordent need not appear in the melody in question; it could appear on the middle note of a C-B-C cadence, as is presumably the case in the question, but it could also appear on the middle note of A-B-C or C-B-A (or D-B-A for that matter).
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 8:09
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Another post with no clef, key signature, or accompaniment (but the cropped bar lines suggest a lower clef.) I'll assume C major, treble clef, and ending on a root position C chord.

I would say there are two levels of embellishment, the marked trill on B4 solfege TI, and the neighbor motion of B4 A4 B4. If you remove both levels of embellishment, the essence of the line is DO TI DO.

I don't know of a specific, well known name for that melodic movement in a cadence, other than to say it's the soprano part for a perfect authentic cadence, I would call it a neighbor or auxiliary motion to describe the melodic line. The way that neighbor motion is achieve through a subdividing of beats can also be generically referred to as diminution.

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  • Usually you’d find this do - ti - do as a form of suspended 4th on the dominant or a cadencial tonic second inversion.
    – Lazy
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 8:18
  • I'm not sure what you're pointing out, but I edited my point about the C chord for clarity. Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 16:10
  • @Lazy or without a suspension as a ii(6/5)-V-I or IV-V-I progression
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 22:22

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