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 Tachums, Mordents, Lower Mordents, Runs, Turns, Vibrato

This is another movement which is subject to some differences.  “Tachum” is essentially a description of a rhythmical group but is most commonly used to describe the following:

 
1.         High ‘G’ gracenote to ‘C’.
2.         D gracenote to low A.
Tachum example CA
 
or

1.         High ‘G’ gracenote to ‘B’.
2.         D gracenote to low G.
Tachum example BG
 
Any two notes which can be said in the rhythm of the word “Tachum” can be described as a tachum.  In orchestral music this feature is referred to as a “Scotch Snap”.  


Mordents

Mordents exist in other types of music too. Mordents were very popular in baroque music.

A mordents is when a note is embellished by playing the starting note and then the note above it very quickly, returning to the starting note. This idea can be played on any note of the scale except on High A. It is almost never played on High G  as this are a little uncomfortable to play.

The symbol for a mordent looks like this:

lowermordent

On each note it is played thus:

written lower mordents

Lower mordents

Lower mordents are very simple embellishments. They exist to decorate a melody, with a secondary function to emphasise a given note.

Lower mordents exist in other types of music too. Lower mordents were very popular in baroque music.

A lower mordents is when a note is embellished by playing the starting note and then the note below it very quickly, returning to the starting note. This idea can be played on any note of the scale except on Low G. It is almost never played on E or C  as these are a little uncomfortable to play. Strikes would be used instead, or doublings.

The symbol for a mordent looks like this:

lowermordent

On each note it is played thus:

written lower mordents

Runs

Runs are very simple embellishments. They exist to decorate a melody, with a secondary function to give emphasis.

Runs exist in other types of music too. Turns were very popular in romantic music.

A run quite simply mens running through the notes of the scale very quickly, from one note to another. Often these would be used where throws might be used, or grips, on highland pipes.

Runs are indicated by small scale passages written as gracenotes (smaller not heads), or notated fully as tuplets (a bracket with a number indicating the number ofnotes to be played.). Here are some examples of both:

Run example 1
Run example 2
Run example 3

Turns

Turns are very simple embellishments. They exist to decorate a melody, with a secondary function to give the impression of slowing down time. Thus, they are very useful in slow tunes.

Turns exist in other types of music too. Turns were very popular in classical music.

A turn is when a note is embellished by replacing  the embellished note with four other notes, from above and below, finishing on the note marked to be embellished. This idea can be played on any note of the scale except on High A and Low G.

The symbol for a turn looks like this:

turn

An example of how it is played is here:

turn example

Vibrato

Vibrato is very much a matter of personal taste and is not usually indicated. Vibrato was really an invention of the Renaissance, but didn't become universal in other musics until very late. Orchestras today are starting to play nineteenth century music without vibrato, with a surprisingly clear and powerful effect. Roger Norrington is a leading conductor pursuing this line of interpretation.

Vibrato is when a finger lower than the pitch being played is raised and lowered many times very quickly. This gives the pitch a slight wobble, and is done to make music more 'emotional'.

It can work equally well in slow music as in fast.

Vibrato has another useful function.....If you are playing with other instruments, it means your tuning can be averaged a little as imprecisions are hidden by vibrato. This can help you in a concert where the physical conditions can be hard to predict and impossible to control, and as a result your tuning might do something wild without any blame belonging to you. Vibrato might just save you...

When you can play all of these embellishments smoothy and with control you are ready to start learning beginner tunes (if you haven't done some on the way).

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