An ornament is a small note or symbol which imposes an embellishment on a note or chord.


An appoggiatura is a species of grace note. Placed before a given note, it leans in and takes a certain amount of time.

Placed before an regular note, it usually takes half the time value:

Figure 1: An appoggiatura before a regular note.

Placed before a dotted note, it usually takes two-thirds of the time value:

Figure 2: An appoggiatura before a dotted note.

Placed before two tied notes, it usually takes the whole value of the first note:

Figure 3: An appoggiatura before two tied notes.

If an appoggiatura leans upon a chord, only one note is affected:

Figure 4: An appoggiatura before a chord.


An acciaccatura is a species of grace note, written with a line through its stem.

Placed before a given note, it indicates to be crushed as quickly as possible, leaving the principal note with almost all time value.

Figure 5: Two acciaccaturas.

An acciaccatura before a chord indicates to spread the chord:

Figure 6: An acciaccatura before a chord.


A trill is a line placed above the staff which indicates the rapid alteration between a given note, and the diatonic note above. The alternating notes are slurred together and played legato.

Figure 7: One bar of trill.


A mordent is a symbol which indicates to crush two notes in before a given note to produce a short trill effect.

There are two types of mordent: upper mordent and lower mordent.

An upper mordent has the middle note higher than the principal note:

Figure 8: An upper mordent.

A lower mordent has the middle note lower than the principal note:

Figure 9: A lower mordent.

The middle note of a mordent may be altered in pitch by adding an accidental above the symbol:

Figure 10: An upper mordent with a sharp.


A gruppetto (or turn) is a symbol which implements a four-note figure after or before a given note depending on whether the sign is placed after or over it:

Figure 11: A gruppetto after the principal note.

Figure 12: A gruppetto over the principal note.

The pivot note of a gruppetto may be altered in pitch by adding an accidental above or below the symbol:

Figure 13: A gruppetto with a flat.

Figure 14: A gruppetto with a sharp.

Figure 15: A gruppetto with a natural.

Also see Tremolos | Noteheads.

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