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?

2 Answers 2


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.

  • I thought you only use tr. when you mean trill. So there is no mordent here? or is it both? Apr 9, 2014 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... Apr 9, 2014 at 14:00
  • 1
    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, 2014 at 16:32
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    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... Apr 9, 2014 at 21:08
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    If I had been here when the question was asked, I would have strongly suggested getting the original MS (also on IMSLP) and rolling your own arrangement. This one isn't very good. The original MS was for three violins and continuo, so about all that would be lost would be the harmonic filler of the continuo.
    – user16935
    Jul 25, 2015 at 17:14

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!

  • 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....!) Apr 9, 2014 at 13:10

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