This is the first movement of sonata in G Major Hob. XVI: 8 by Haydn:

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In bars 6, 8 and 12 there are trills (presumably in 8), but each one is represented a little bit differently. In bar 6 there are the trill sign and square brackets to indicate the adjacent note to trill with, in bar 8 only the square brackets, and in bar 12 only the trill.

Is there a reason for the difference in notation? are all three played the same?


These are in fact all different. The D and G and bars 6 and 8 are in square brackets by the editor to indicate that they should be re-attacked, since the preceding note is the same. Bar 8 is not a trill. It should be played as two eighth notes G and F. Bar 12 is a normal trill where its first note (F#) was not the last one played, so no need to indicate it with square brackets.

I would also recommend listening to a recording.

  • Do you mean that the first two are appoggiaturas? Aug 21 '12 at 19:08
  • Bar 8 is, yes. Bar 6 is a normal trill.
    – mjibson
    Aug 21 '12 at 20:27
  • I don't know. None of the other trills tell which note to trill with, and there's nothing out of the ordinary with trilling C with D there. I think bar 6 is an appoggiatura and then a trill. Aug 22 '12 at 1:30
  • This manuscript writes out the appoggiatura in bar 8 and specifies trills in bars 6 and 12. The linked recording in my answer is the same.
    – mjibson
    Aug 22 '12 at 1:35
  • You're right. I should have checked the original piece. It appears that bar 13 is actually a trill and turn. Aug 22 '12 at 1:58

Are you familiar with the concepts of "early music" and "historically-informed performance"?

General background rather than a specific answer: I'm not a keyboardist or instrumentalist, but I work as a volunteer business person with a Baroque orchestra composed of career specialists in early music and historically-informed performance. All I can say is that the subject of how to correctly play ornaments and trills in Baroque and Classical music is a subject that's had an explosive amount of study done on it in recent decades.

Look for resources in "early music" and "historically-informed performance" (what we used to call "authentic performance practice" although that term has fallen out of favor), and by all means listen to recordings that you know to be made by early music specialists on period instruments (harpsichord and early fortepiano) and not by "modern-style" pianists playing on "modern" pianos.

The other element, of course, is that there is room for personal interpretation and a little improvisation in places when you perform these pieces. But how much liberty to take with the material is a subject of endless debate and must just come down to your musical knowledge and taste.

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