See image: Is the orange or the green time correspondence the correct way to play? (Does the hand without grace notes begin to play at the same time as the grace notes, or the main notes, by the other hand?)

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  • Those are not mordents.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 23:20
  • Is there a specific term other than 'ornament'? Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 0:36
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    @Kilian Foth That's what I had thought, but then I saw a video tutorial that played the LH in the first example (m107) immediately when the RH start to play the grace note: 5:31 youtube.com/watch?v=-PuxGfX7OKs Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 14:30
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    @KilianFoth notes with ornaments that should be played on the beat are also typically aligned this way, so the alignment really doesn't tell you much. The first note of the main theme of the rondo is a good example.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 15:47
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    I play green in the second movement and orange in the third. But I've never played this on a period piano - I might play green in the third on a piano with a weaker bass. Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 1:25

2 Answers 2


I have the impression that Mozart appogiaturas are "supposed to be" played on the beat. https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=52829.0, see the discussion about the Henle edition (which is sort of the authority on how things are "supposed to be played").

Aha, I have found a better source than a forum: https://content.alfred.com/catpages/00-24458.pdf

In Mozart's music all appoggiaturas, whether long or short, and that includes those written with a cross-stroke, are played ON THE BEAT. In his Essay, C.P.E Bach endorsed the notating of appoggiaturas with small notes representing their true values.

There's also Grace notes: when are they played on the beat, and when are they played off?.

  • Thanks for that Alfred source! Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 14:49

In this piece, all of the ornaments are usually played ahead of the beat. That is, the main notes in the right and left hands are played together, preceded by the ornaments.

As one example, Daniel Barenboim's recording is played this way. It's easier to hear if you play the recording at a slower speed.

  • If you listen to Barenboim's performance of the first example, you'll see that he plays the r.h. E just a hair before the l.h. A, nearly at the same time, and the r.h. A and C sharp are distinctly later.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 15:42
  • @phoog Are you suggesting the answer is wrong, or just that I should post a different recording?
    – Aaron
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 18:16
  • It's wrong by virtue of being too general. All the ornaments are not usually played before the beat, though some are. (Also note that most modern editions change the notation that Mozart used for the main theme of the rondo, obscuring Mozart's notational practice and making it difficult to interpret.)
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 22:11

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