National Centre for Early Music

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Ornamentation

Baroque composers often expected players to add decoration or ornamentation to the written music. A number of instruction manuals and annotated scores survive, showing us the type of ornamentation that players performed. Ornaments ranged from simple trills at cadential points to filling in leaps with passing notes to more extended decoration of sustained notes. This was particularly the case in slow movements.

In this clip, Nick demonstrates some ornamentation that can be added to Telemann's Largo.

In this clip, Nick shows how decoration can be applied to the faster Allegro.


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