I have a piano chord (specifically a triad), and I want to trill the note at the top.

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Is there any way to express this using musical notation? Also, if there is notation for this, how would I do it in MuseScore 2?

NOTE: As an aside, in my handwritten manuscript I've just labelled it as using an asterisk at the top of the chord itself, and writing a footnote at the end. Is that good enough?

  • Of course there is. Just skim thru a few scores at imslp. And, no do not ever use a footnote. You think a musician's going to pull his focus away from the written notes? – Carl Witthoft Apr 18 '17 at 11:22
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    @CarlWitthoft How am I meant to skim through a few scores if I don't even know what I'm looking for, though? I honestly have no idea what I'm looking for here, that's why I'm asking. Just curious: is there any problems with my question? – Qwerp-Derp Apr 18 '17 at 11:25
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    It's very unlikely that a keyboard player would imagine you wanted to trill all three notes at the same time, especially considering most keyboard players don't have six fingers on one hand! But if you want to be absolutely clear, write the chord in two voices, with the top note stem up and the other two down. If you wanted the trill on the middle note of the chord, the best option would be to write the "tr" to the left of the chord, opposite the relevant note. That's not common for trills, but it does occur for other ornaments, especially in Baroque music. – user19146 Apr 18 '17 at 11:32
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    @CarlWitthoft in contemporary music, it's quite common to have footnotes explaining special notation. And in educational editions of old music, there are often footnotes showing the editor's recommendation for playing ornaments, etc. – user19146 Apr 18 '17 at 11:35
  • You simply express it by writing only one trill line. A chordal trill (yes, they exist, look up Beethoven's sonatas) would notate multiple waved lines. – Kilian Foth Apr 18 '17 at 12:24

I think you should definitely find some way to specify it, just so the performer knows exactly what is expected. Here are a few possible solutions, though I don't claim any of them are 100% factually correct with sources to back me up:

  1. I've seen editorial footnotes in scores of composers before Bach. If you think a footnote is the best bet, I don't personally see any problem with it.
  2. alephzero's solution in the comments is a good one, the only possible problem being if your actual example already includes 800 different voices in a single clef, which I doubt :-) :

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  1. Another (perhaps extreme) solution is to clarify what the auxiliary pitch should be:

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But as I said, these are just some solutions; perhaps there is a standard notation "rule" for this that someone else can explain.

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    3 is definitely a figuration I've seen before. – CAD97 Apr 18 '17 at 13:15

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