Musical ornaments (or embellishments) are symbols that provide direction for performers to embellish the written musical notation in specific ways. Each musical period (2) through history has specific ways that the performer is expected to perform each of the ornaments. Also, different countries and even different composers have their own interpretation of how each ornament is to be performed. Since ornaments are part of the written music, they must be performed, and they must be performed using the performance practices of the period and country in which the music was written. Many treatises have been written over the years to detail these performance practices, which is how the modern musician is able to interpret and perform the ornaments as the composer would have intended.
Although there have been many ornaments and their variants used through the years, the most commonly used ornaments today include the trill, grace note, arpeggio, mordent, and turn.
See also [Eng.] Ornament; [Fr.] agréments or [Fr.] broderies; [Ger.] Verzierungen; [It.] fiorette or [It.] fioriture or [It.] abbellimento; [Sp.] adorno.
Also ornamentation; embellishment.
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