I looked at the sheet music of the Military Polonaise by Chopin that I have. I saw something which looks more difficult than even the fast speed or the octaves. I saw a descending trill. I have never seen anything like it though I have heard it in Beethoven's 3rd piano concerto(the descending trill).

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That last trill(or set of trills) on that page in the D major section is descending. There are a few octave trills before that but I assume I would be doing 1 trill in each hand and in contrary motion(so 1 trill starts on the principal note and the other and octave above starts on the auxiliary note). In my sheet music, that descending set of trills is written as just a single trill symbol over 5 descending notes. I bet I would have to use my 4th and 5th fingers for the beginning of the trill. But I can't trill well with those fingers. I could do a 4 measure long trill with my 2nd and 3rd fingers but my 4th and 5th fingers, I am lucky if I can trill for 1 measure evenly, normally I can only have 1 beat of it be even and my trill slows down as my 4th and 5th fingers get tired.

I have played some difficult Bach pieces that require me to do that 45 fingering for the trill so that I can reach down to about an octave away from the trill with my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers and I still can't do it evenly. I don't know if I should try to learn this piece given that it has that descending trill. And how would I even play such a trill? Starting on the auxiliary note for the first trill and then the principal note for all the trills after that?

1 Answer 1


Based on the picture, it looks like you're using the wrong fingering for the descending trills in the last bar. Each trill actually starts with fingers 1, 3, and 2, not your fingers 4 and 5. That should make your life easier (and, IMO, you might be able to get away with mordents instead of full trills there).

Based on the 1-3-2 fingering, I'd suspect that you start with the principal note for all the descending trills, then the upper auxiliary note.

  • That fingering 1-3-2 suggests that you only play 3 notes as the trill, mordents as Dekkadeci wrote. There isn't really time for more than that. Open YouTube in your browser and in the search box type "Military Polonaise by Chopin". You will then find several examples of the polonaise. One of them with sheet music displayed. Then find the section in question and you will find that 3 notes on each trill seems to be common. Commented Dec 2, 2018 at 22:22

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