Robert Estrin - piano expert

How to execute ornamentations in music?

Useful tips for approaching ornamentations and embellishments in music

In this video, Robert tackles the difficult interpretations of ornaments and embellishments often found in baroque music. With a clear and easy explanation, Robert shows you how to play some of these "mysterious" ornaments by performing a tender Sarabande taken from the French Suite No. 5 by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Released on July 3, 2013

Post a Comment   |   Video problems? Contact Us!
DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.
Post a comment, question or special request:
You may: Login  or  
Otherwise, fill the form below to post your comment:
Add your name below:

Add your email below: (to receive replies, will not be displayed or shared)

For verification purposes, please enter the word MUSIC in the field below

Comments, Questions, Requests:

Zuhair Bakdoud on August 28, 2013 @9:19 am PST
I greatly appreciate your response on my Chopin-ornamention question. In several books and articles, I have read that Chopin's ornamentation is actually PART of the melody, and I agree totally on that issue. I keep learning - daily - from your superlative videos on piano technique and piano playing in general. PLEASE, continue this phenomenal kindness to piano lovers. Zu.
Robert Estrin * VSM MEMBER * on August 28, 2013 @11:33 am PST
You have touched on one of the most important aspects of ornamentation: All ornamentation is part of the melody! This isn't true just for Chopin. When you execute a trill in Mozart for example, it should be played just like written out notes. If you think of all of your ornamentation as part of the melody, you will be on the right track.
Zuhair Bakdoud on August 24, 2013 @1:06 am PST
Could you comment on the ornamentation in chopin's music? Thank you in advance.
Robert - host, on August 26, 2013 @11:25 am PST
Ornamentation in Chopin should be played within the musical context. While there are many ways of negotiating specific ornamentation, makes sure the execution is not hurried. Sometimes starting trills or mordants before the beat gives you more time to play the notes so the playing is clear and relaxed.
wayne russell * VSM MEMBER * on August 12, 2013 @2:43 pm PST

I just discovered your videos and am excited about learning them all! You have a great style of teaching!
Barbara on July 5, 2013 @8:00 pm PST
This was helpful.
Would like to see more about stylizing music.
Robert - host, on July 6, 2013 @2:31 pm PST
Please explain what you mean by "stylizing music". Do you mean playing the music in the appropriate period style, or putting your own personality into the performance?
Irene * VSM MEMBER * on July 4, 2013 @10:40 am PST
Thanks so much Robert! One other question. Would the trill be played on the beat or before the beat? I have read it depends on the musical period. Some say it doesn't matter.
Robert - host, on July 5, 2013 @6:58 pm PST
Whether a trill is played on the beat or before the beat isn't so much a matter of period style as the specific context of the trill. I suggest trying trills both ways and see what sounds best and what is technically reliable. You can also listen to recordings to hear how others negotiate ornamentation for reference.
kevin * VSM MEMBER * on July 3, 2013 @3:14 pm PST
thank u so much ....brill
Bettie Downing on July 3, 2013 @8:30 am PST
This was especially good. Rather than pursue books on period performance techniques, Robert allows us some musical freedom to experiment and listen.
Excellent lesson ! Excellent teacher !

Thanks so much.
RH Jerry * VSM MEMBER * on July 3, 2013 @7:29 am PST
Robert -- Terrific! As a new VSM customer, I had no idea these mini-tutorials were part of the subscription. I learned some things my piano teachers (many years ago!) did not tell me. Looking forward to your next ones!
Humberto Cruz * VSM MEMBER * on July 3, 2013 @5:19 am PST
Robert, very useful video on ornaments, thanks.
Regarding turns, in Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata, 2nd movement, measures 20-21, there is in each a turn mark that sits not on top of a note but in between two notes. I am not sure how to read this, when a turn is between two notes, although my ear is telling me the turn is really applying to the second note. Can you help? Thank you, Humberto Cruz, Virtual Sheet Music member.
Questions? Problems? Contact Us.