Technique: Trills and embellishments


How to develop finger strength and control for even, well-articulated ornaments

Working on trills can help us to play all embellishments – mordents, turns, grace notes – more effectively. It also trains our fingers to be faster and stronger, and helps us to improve our left-hand position. A good trill should be even and have a controlled conclusion that ends exactly at the beginning of the next beat, without fluctuating in speed. To do this, we must curve all the fingers nicely over the fingerboard, without squeezing the neck or holding any unnecessary tension, and we have to support the sound consistently with the right hand. We can build up our trilling skills step by step by working on the basic exercises below, and by practising trills in technical etudes and within more musical contexts. Mostly I use violin exercises, because they have been proven to be effective and are equally applicable to the viola…

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