When you see a trill in sheet music how to you know if you alternate the givin note and the half step above it or the whole step above it or any other interval?

2 Answers 2


I think it's the note that is directly above the starting note in the key. For example if I was in G major and i saw the trill sign on the note B I would play a C because it's the next note in the scale. Or if I was in F♯ minor key and the trill was on the note F♯ I would play the trill with G♯ because that's next in the scale.

However there could be an accidental in that bar and in that case, play that note.

Hope I helped, sorry if this is just nonsense. 😄

  • 1
    Not nonsense. If there has been an accidental previously in the bar this would apply to either of the trill notes if appropriate. If there has not been an accidental but the composer wants the (unwritten) trill note to be either half a step higher or half a step lower then it is indicated alongside the trill mark.
    – JimM
    Mar 20, 2017 at 18:35

You just play whatever pitch would result from putting a notehead one position higher than the main note. Basically, you use the current accidental in force for that note position. Of course unless there is an explicit accidental written above the trill in which case you use that.

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