I'm only playing simple pieces (Grade 1 in the UK) but even some of these have Tr notation next to a note, and a separate bit of score above the score.

What I notice is, the note in the main score is nothing like the notes shown in the trill pattern. e.g:

enter image description here

How should the trill "mini-score" be read? It's optional in my pieces but I'd at least like to know what it means.

By the way this is in the key of G-major, so F->F#.

  • 1
    You'll be okay to just post a bar or two. And it would really help us work out an answer for you. If you really don't want to copy the music, you could write a bit of it out by hand and post it. Feb 4, 2015 at 14:55

3 Answers 3


That shows the note above the printed one to be played first (G), then the F, then G and F again, before the tune note of E, (printed), followed by the last E in the bar.The stave lines are not special, except that a note shown on a line belongs on a line. In this case, the two lines of stave shown happen to be the E and G lines. Or the F might be F#...

  • Yeah, probably is F#, looks like a cadential figure in E Minor. Could be G# too, if it's E Major...! Feb 4, 2015 at 15:10
  • @BobBroadley - it's grade 1, not too sure! Are your notes o.k? Emin sound probable.
    – Tim
    Feb 4, 2015 at 15:12
  • Ah yes, good point, probably no G#s at Grade 1! @MrBoy, might be good if you let other readers know what the key signature is. Feb 4, 2015 at 15:18
  • Oh yes, the F is sharp in the key signature so it's in G/Em (I assume the former)
    – Mr. Boy
    Feb 4, 2015 at 15:28

I'm guessing this is probably baroque music. In this period trills and other ornaments have specific ways they should be played; for a trill it is common to start a trill on the note above the one marked. In this case, the notes represented above the flute part are G F G F E. It's pretty unhelpful that they don't show all five stave lines, but I guess the editor is just trying to save space!


I'm also doing a little bit guessing:

Given that the small notes fill exactly the time of the trill with the slurred eighth note, I assume, it is a simplification: typically a trill would repeat its base note more than once, often much more than once, depending on the time avaliable, which is influenced by the tempo. So I guess, the statement of the editor is as follows: if you are a little bit timid concerning the trill, try at least these given notes as a sort of minimum embellishment. In a real score this would be signalled using "ossia" translating to "alternative".

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