Ornaments modify the pitch pattern of individual notes in order to beautify or add a special effect to a piece of music. Examples of ornaments are:
A rapid alternation between the specified note and the next higher note (according to key signature) within its duration. Also called “a shake.” When followed by a wavy horizontal line, this symbol indicates an extended, or running, trill. Trills can begin on either the specified root note or the upper auxiliary note, though the latter is more prevalent in modern performances.
Rapidly play the principal note, the next higher note (according to key signature) then return to the principal note for the remaining duration. In most music, the mordent begins on the auxiliary note, and the alternation between the two notes may be extended. In hand bells, this symbol is “a shake” and indicates the rapid shaking of the bells for the duration of the note.
– Mordent (inverted)
Rapidly play the principal note, the note below it, then return to the principal note for the remaining duration. In much music, the mordent begins on the auxiliary note, and the alternation between the two notes may be extended.
When placed directly above the note, the turn (also known as a gruppetto) indicates a sequence of upper auxiliary note, principal note, lower auxiliary note, and a return to the principal note. When placed to the right of the note, the principal note is played first, followed by the above pattern. Placing a vertical line through the turn symbol or inverting it, it indicates an inverted turn, in which the order of the auxiliary notes is to be reversed.
The acciaccatura is of very brief duration, as though brushed on the way to the principal note, which receives virtually all of its notated duration. In percussion notation, the acciaccatura symbol is used to denote the flam rudiment, the miniature note still being positioned behind the main note but on the same line or space of the staff. The flam note is usually played just before the natural duration subdivision the main note is played on, with the timing and duration of the main note remaining unchanged.