Trill ?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Cossiemon, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. Cossiemon


    Aug 20, 2001

    What is trill? or a trill?

    Flea does a few of them in "Aeroplane".

    I thought it was repeatedly, and quickly bending of a string? I also heard that a trill is a series of quick hammer-ons and pull offs on the same string?

    Any ideas or advice greatly appreciated!
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The first one is called (blues) vibrato, the latter is a trill.

    Blues vibrato is achieved by bending the string, as opposed to classical vibrato, where you roll the fingertip to the left and right, like with violin vibrato.
  3. Cossiemon


    Aug 20, 2001
    thanks a million for clearing that up for me!
  4. i cant trill....its to hard. i can barely hit the strings hard enough alone with my stupid girlie hands let alone trill....i hope it comes in time.
  5. rustyshakelford


    Jul 9, 2002
    Meshelle Ndege Ocello has mad trill.

    Listen to "If that was your boyfriend ...". Trill recurring on the 2nd beat throughout the verse. Her website also has the video for this, and she plays her bass throughout the video.

    I couldn't do this for the longest time. I bought the first Pattitucci tape and began doing it within minutes.

    It is not like you work your way up to it (like with speed) as much as you learn the correct way to do it. You see it, you hear it and then you figure it out.

    Good luck.
  6. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I always thought a trill was something that was designated in classical music that tells to rapidly go between to intervals for a given amount of time?
  7. Johnalex


    Jul 20, 2001
    South Carolina
    Well with my experiance with the trumpet, a trill is used a lot in baroque music. Baroque music uses a lot of what they call "ornaments" and a trill is one of them. A trill can be either starting on the note and trilling (hammer back and forth, I guess on bass) down 1 full step, or you can start on the note one full step above and trilling down to the written music. This is what I remember from music class, I hope its right.
  8. Spazzout


    Aug 7, 2002
    Bellingham, WA
    er, sorry to be a pain but every thing i've been taught in orchestra is that you're supposed to trill a half step up from the note you start on. otherwise it's just called playing 2 notes really really fast. but i could be wrong.
  9. Whisper

    Whisper Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2001
    New York, New York
    In classical, ie. baroque music and the like, a trill is done with the given note and the next note below in the key signature. So in the key of C major, and a trill written for a C, the trill would be C-B-C-B-C etc. (musical example - 12 Bach preludes)

    In most modern music, a trill is done with the next note above the written note in the key signature, so a trill written for a C in the key of C Major would be C-D-C-D-C etc. (musical example - first note of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue Piano Solo)
  10. That's close. A trill on a C in Baroque music generally starts on the next higher note in the key so a trill on C would be D-C-D-C-D-C. There are exceptions though. Some trills should start on the note as C-D-C-D-C. It depends on the context. Many modern classical performers do it that way all the time even with Bach. It's not authentic Baroque practice though. It drives me crazy when I hear it that way.

    A Mordent on C would be C-B-C and sometimes longer as C-B-C-B-C. Perhaps that's what you were thinking of.

    Here's a chart of how to execute ornaments in Bach's own handwriting:


    - Dave
  11. rustyshakelford


    Jul 9, 2002
    It occurred to me afterwards that there was a bit of a nomenclature issue here.

    I think in the first post the person was referring to some sheet music for "Airplane". In the 4th measure of the verse, Flea does some heavy trill-type vibrato/sliding stuff.

    Patitucci, in his first tape, talks about the different types of vibrato.

    The "Eric Clapton" vibrato is done by bending the string slightly, and repeatedly. Mark King does this well, too.

    The "Jaco"-type vibrato is done by rocking the fretting finger slightly above and below the adjacent fret; works good on fretless, mediocre on fretted.

    The "Larry Graham"-type hyper-vibrato is similar to the Jaco type vibrato, but is more pronounced and more rapid. Indeed it is this type of vibrato Flea uses on Airplane. When you listen to it, it is unclear the notethe bassist is actually playing because he is hitting the adjacent tones with his vibrato.

    The confusion, I think, arose, when the transcriber tried to annotate this heavy vibrato. He could have just said "with vibrato", but that would not have suggested the chromatic barrage Flea was squeezing out of his Modulus.

    So, I think to characterize Flea's playing as a trill is incorrect, as well, to play a trill in this case (as a trill would be played in classical music), would be incongruous.

    As I type this, I am considering that I could be wrong and that perhaps Flea is playing a trill. But i don't think so; I think he is doing more of a sliding thing. Perhaps a more astute listener will correct me.
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    If you hit other notes, especially on a fretted, you're playing ornaments. If you're bending the pitch, it's vibrato. There's a huge difference. What we're talking about here is trilling (the rapid change between two notes).
  13. rustyshakelford


    Jul 9, 2002
    Hello, Pacman.

    Pardon me.

    I fear I made a mistake. I did not know about ornamentals versus vibrato.

    I was thinking about it afterwards. I think Patitucci specifically refers to that type of trill as "funk-type vibrato".

    On the technique, I had thought trill was like a series of quick hammer-on's, whereas on Airplane, or the Patitucci video he just slides his fretting finger over the fret.

    I don't suppose it makes a difference?

    It seems from your post on minor modes that you have extensively studied music.

  14. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Apologies for bumping up such an old thread, but I have a question or two...

    I have been working on a (classical) piece that includes quite a few trills in it Little did I know I was playing them wrong. An example of how I was playing was trill on C, I'd play C C# C C# etc...until my teacher pointed out to me the other day this was incorrect and he mentioned about playing the next note of the key, as described in the quote above.

    So here are my questions:

    1) The piece I'm playing is in the key of G. In one of the measures there is a trill on an F natural note which then proceeds to trill on E then trill on D. On the trlll on F natural would it go F G F G or F F# F F#? Then for the trill on E would it be E F# E F# or F natural because of the accidental in the beginning of the measure? I asked my teacher this and he honestly didn't know so it has become quite the conundrum lol.

    2) What finger is the best to "trill" with? I'm playing this piece mainly in the 9th and 12th positions and finding myself using my pinky to hammer-on and off. Does it really matter as long as it gets the job done? I don't have much strength in my pinky and am finding it difficult, but it's the most convenient. (EX measures: G trill, A trill, B trill / C trill D trill E ...these measures also include grace notes but I don't know if that's relevant to my questions).