The art of ornamenting the melody is an important issue in all the methods studied. Three main embellishments appear in all the methods and are frequently the only ones really explained: the Petite note (small note), the trill, and the turn (gruppetto or Petit groupe). However, they do not represent all the material of the ornamentation. Very often, the various possibilities of embellishing a melody appear to be difficult to describe. Consequently, the different authors, Lefèvre for instance, choose to show many examples to illustrate different options.1(example 1)  Other interesting examples can be found in Ozi’s Nouvelle Méthode de Basson (1803).2 

Oral tradition also seems to play a very important role in this learning process.3 

A comparison of the methods of the early 19th century with later methods reveals a change of philosophy regarding ornamentation, linked to the way music is written. For example, Baillot explains in L’Art du violon (1834) that at the end of the 18th century, composers such as Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, unlike earlier composers such as Corelli and Tartini, began to write their music more precisely, leaving less freedom for the performer to add ornaments.4 The same idea can also be found with Frédéric Berr, who takes Rossini as an example.5 

Nevertheless, it is clear that the practice of embellishing the melody remains widespread. It is also clear that, even if the embellishments are written, the performer must be able to recognize them and execute them properly. It is this point that will be discussed in the rest of this chapter


4.1. Appogiatura


This embellishment is placed before the main note, either above it, at an interval of one tone or one semitone, or below it, always at an interval of one semitone.6 (example 2) This precision is found in all the methods, and appears as a means of distinguishing the Appogiatura.

The Appogiatura can be written with petite notes or real notes. Frédéric Berr points out that these Appogiaturas written in real notes must absolutely be recognised and performed properly.7 

The example shows the first phrase of Lefèvre’s fourth sonata. There are Appogiaturas on every first beat, written in both ways.

Dynamic and articulation


As Mengozzi underlines, Appogiatura comes from the verb "Appogiare" which means "to press". Therefore the word suggests the way it is performed: it is played louder than the main note with which it is always slurred.8 The idea that this accent is stronger for an Appogiatura above than below appears in several methods. In Dauprat's Méthode de cor-alto et cor-basse(1824) for instance.9  



Melodic Appogiatura


This type of Appogiatura is used to "give grace and elegance to the melody".10 


When written with petites notes, the Appogiatura value is usually half the main note. (example 5) This general principle appears to be more important in the case of prepared Appogiaturas.11 (example 6) 






Clearly, this general rule has various applications. Dauprat, although he validates it, specifies that it is always the character of the melody which must guide the performer.12 

Ozi, in the Nouvelles méthode de Basson (1803), prefers not to give any rules but gives several examples illustrating different possibilities.13(example 7)

Brief or rhythmic appoggiatura


The example of Ozi shows the case of an Appoggiatura played quickly (bar 5). In the later methods, it is called brief Appogiatura by Dauprat14 and rhythmic Appoggiatura by Baillot. This last term seems to indicate its purpose: to underline the rhythm of the passage. It should be performed less vigorously in slow movements than in fast ones, but still short enough to be distinguished from the melodic one. 15 (example 8)

A small note with a slash is sometimes used to differentiate it from the melodic Appogiatura.16 (example 9)

4.3 Trill


The execution of trills is commonly explained according to their place in the melody, or the length of the note. On some issues, it is possible to observe a general agreement, such as the idea that the trill should be more or less fast depending on the tempo, or that the trill on cadences begins slowly and then accelerates. In other cases, a wide variety of execution appears, particularly with regard to the preparation and termination of the trill. I will illustrate this point with two examples.




The trill is very often found at the end of a phrase. Lefèvre clearly states that this trill must begin with the upper note and shows the termination with two notes.17However, other authors, such as Hugot and Wunderlich in the Méthode de flûte (1804) give several options (example 14). No preference is stated, this choice depends only on the Bon Goût.18 (Good taste) 

Except for the first termination, these different possibilities can be found in Garaudé's Méthode de chant (c.1825),19as well as in Frédéric Berr's Traité.20 In his Méthode de clarinette (1836), Berr shows four ways to prepare and to finish the trill.21 Again, no preference is asserted in these writings.

Finally, Dauprat offers no less than 12 examples of the “preparations and endings most commonly used in the execution of trill.” (Example 15) These different options are classified according to the note preceding the trill (tonic, mediant or dominant). The author specifies that options 2, 3 and 4 are the most common, and can be performed regardless of the preceding note.22

Chain trill


The chain trill is another example which shows that the issue of trill preparation is not settled by explicit rules.


Mengozzi, although he proposes two different performances, shows that each trill begins with the main note.23(example 16) 

Hugot and Wünderlich offer several options.24(example 17) These possibilities of starting each trill with the upper note or not is also found in Dauprat's method.25 


Thus, while nowadays we would sometimes like to have precise rules on the preparation and termination of trills, the different sources studied rather show many possibilities. It is up to the performer to choose what best suits the character of the passage, with Bon Goût.

4.2. Gruppetto / Turn


Two types of Gruppetto are commonly distinguished. The first one is indicated in this way (example 10):

The interval between the first and last note of the group is always a diminished or minor third. These three notes are played before the main note. The first note should be played louder and slightly longer.26 


The second type of Gruppetto is the one indicated in this way (example 11):

This Gruppetto is played after the main note and is composed of 4 notes. Some authors, such as Berr and Dauprat, claim that the interval between the first and third note can make a major, minor or diminished third and that these 4 notes are always slurred.27 28 

It appears to be widely used to embellish a dotted rhythm. Numerous examples may suggest that an execution with the short note overdotted is the most common. (example 12 and 13) Whatever the type of Gruppetto, they must be performed according to the character and tempo of the piece. That is to say, slower in a slow movement than in a lively one.29 

Example 6. Lefèvre30

Example 5. Lefèvre31

Example 16. Mengozzi32

Example 12. Mengozzi33

Example 13. Berr34

Example 9. Brod35

Example 8. Baillot36

Example 1. Lefèvre37

Example 15. Dauprat38

Example 14. Hugot, Wünderlich39.

Example 17. Hugot, Wünderlich40

Example 10. Mengozzi41

Example 11. Lefèvre42

Example 2. Mengozzi43

Example 4. Berr44

Example 7. Ozi45

Example 3. Lefèvre46