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Thread: Tremolo Notation

  1. #1
    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Tremolo Notation

    In notation, a tremolo note, will have slashes across the stem. What is the difference in a note with two slashes and a note with three?

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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Slashes may indicate measured “tremolo”, so two slashes is 16th notes, three is 32nds. In classical music, we usually say tremolo when we mean unmeasured, so the distinction may be moot. But it is a compact form for writing repeated notes. One slash means 8ths (often seen in Debussy).
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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Thanks Tom!

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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    I think sometimes a horizontal, squiggly line is used to indicate either a tremolo or a trill ...
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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Squiggly line, a tilde above the note is a trill or mordent (short trill).

    Slashes through the note stem are tremolo or measured subdivided note.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Squiggly line, a tilde above the note is a trill or mordent (short trill).

    Slashes through the note stem are tremolo or measured subdivided note.
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  10. #6

    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    In drum notation 3 bars indicate filling the available rhythmic space with a 32nd note roll - bouncing each 16th note into a second stroke. So a half note with 3 bars would require filling the two beats with 16 32nd notes.

    I was taught another technique whereby the 3 barred note had the word "press" under it which indicated that rather than 16th notes being double bounced into 32nd notes each stroke is triple or quadruple bounced to create up to 64th notes, a speed at which one can't distinguish individual notes.
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  12. #7

    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg P. Stone View Post
    In drum notation 3 bars indicate filling the available rhythmic space with a 32nd note roll - bouncing each 16th note into a second stroke. So a half note with 3 bars would require filling the two beats with 16 32nd notes.

    I was taught another technique whereby the 3 barred note had the word "press" under it which indicated that rather than 16th notes being double bounced into 32nd notes each stroke is triple or quadruple bounced to create up to 64th notes, a speed at which one can't distinguish individual notes.
    Although the originally meaning was 32nd notes, three slashes in drum music means a roll. A "press" roll is multiple bounces on each stroke so that is sounds like a continuous buzz, but I've never seen "press" written in the music. Modern drum corps style notation uses three slashes for a double stroke roll (whether actually 32nds or not), and a "Z" shaped slash for buzz rolls. Notation continues to evolve to match the literature.

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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    I was taught this over a half century ago so I'm not surprised that "buzz" has supplanted "press". "Press" is a description of the technique to produce a "buzz. In my day this was never used in drum corps.
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Great thread.

    In some musical situations, all longer notes are tremoloed in mandolin music, so that the long notes without tremolo are so marked as "senza trem.".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg P. Stone View Post
    I was taught this over a half century ago so I'm not surprised that "buzz" has supplanted "press". "Press" is a description of the technique to produce a "buzz. In my day this was never used in drum corps.
    I think press roll is the older, more traditional term - I've heard "buzz roll" a lot, but largely in jazz and rock circles.

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    In violin notation, two slashes means measured sixteenths, three for tremolo. The squiggly line is a trill, a sideways S is a mordent.

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  20. #11

    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg P. Stone View Post
    I was taught this over a half century ago so I'm not surprised that "buzz" has supplanted "press". "Press" is a description of the technique to produce a "buzz. In my day this was never used in drum corps.
    "Press" and "buzz" mean the same thing, a multiple-bounce roll. Drum corps and marching bands would have called it a "closed" roll as opposed to an "open" (double bounce) roll.

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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    In violin notation, two slashes means measured sixteenths, three for tremolo. The squiggly line is a trill, a sideways S is a mordent.
    The slash marks are variable depending on composer. But the sideways S is turn, a roll above and below the pitch. The tilde alone is typically a mordent, a brief trill of one up and back, while “tr” is the common indication for a substantial trill. When a trill extends to another note or measure a long squiggly line indicates how far it continues.

    So, for example, in the choro “Apanhei-te cavaquinho” there is a tilde above the first of a group of 16ths, and every next group. These are quick mordents.
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Great thread.

    In some musical situations, all longer notes are tremoloed in mandolin music, so that the long notes without tremolo are so marked as "senza trem.".

    - - - Updated - - -

    I think press roll is the older, more traditional term - I've heard "buzz roll" a lot, but largely in jazz and rock circles.
    Thanks David. I've been puzzling over this as I've been learning to read Italian mandolin music. For example, a whole note would always be tremolo unless marked as "senza trem"? Or a quarter note tied to an eighth note that crosses the measure?
    Last edited by Bill Foss; May-01-2019 at 4:43pm.

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  26. #14

    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    The slash marks are variable depending on composer.
    While some composers may not follow the standard, there are definite rules for slashes: one slash means eighth-notes, two slashes mean sixteenth-notes, three slashes mean 32nds or a tremolo.

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  28. #15

    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    Squiggly line, a tilde above the note is a trill or mordent (short trill).

    Slashes through the note stem are tremolo or measured subdivided note.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    In violin notation, two slashes means measured sixteenths, three for tremolo. The squiggly line is a trill, a sideways S is a mordent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    ... sideways S is turn, a roll above and below the pitch. The tilde alone is typically a mordent, a brief trill of one up and back, while “tr” is the common indication for a substantial trill. When a trill extends to another note or measure a long squiggly line indicates how far it continues.
    I think I've been doing it wrong. In the stuff I write, the need for indicating tremolo only rarely comes up, but I have a vague recollection of posting a transcription of a bluegrass tune (or something similar that uses tremolo) sheet music here on the forum and/or in the Song-a-Week group sometime in the last few years, where I think I might have used a sideways S (or similar-looking character) to indicate tremolo. Then again, maybe I didn't... but it vaguely rings a bell and I distantly recall being unsure at the time as to how to notate it. Or I might have used a "tr", assuming (wrongly) that it meant tremolo... At this point I have no clue what tune(s) or thread(s) that might have been.

    I will try to remember the correct way, now that it's been explained in this thread, if I ever need to indicate tremolo in notation in the future. Thanks to everyone above for helping to make it clear how this stuff works.

  29. #16
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    I think I've been doing it wrong. ... Then again, maybe I didn't...
    I wouldn't fret too much about it, JL

    FWIW, I know for certain I've notated some things incorrectly in a couple of the pieces I've transcribed or written, using the squiggly line for trill to represent a tremolo. Two vastly different techniques. We live and learn.
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Foss View Post
    Thanks David. I've been puzzling over this as I've been learning to read Italian mandolin music. For example, a whole note would always be tremolo unless marked as "senza trem"? Or a quarter note tied to an eighth note that crosses the measure?
    I'd tremolo all those notes! But the style I like in Italian mandolin playing uses lots of tremolo. Pretty much any note that can be tremoloed is, unless it's part of a fast run or needs to be articulated without tremolo. Of course on fast passages the picking is almost like tremolo, except that each alternate pickstroke is on another pitch ascending or descending.

    Plus, whole phrases can be tremoloed, much as a violin player may play a whole passage under the same bow stroke.

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  33. #18
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    While some composers may not follow the standard, there are definite rules for slashes: one slash means eighth-notes, two slashes mean sixteenth-notes, three slashes mean 32nds or a tremolo.
    (But one slash on an eighth-note stem means play sixteenths, two means thirty-seconds, etc.)

  34. #19

    Default Re: Tremolo Notation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Clausen View Post
    (But one slash on an eighth-note stem means play sixteenths, two means thirty-seconds, etc.)
    If you have "one slash on an eighth-note stem", you must already have one bar or flag to indicate the eighth-note. It is the total that matters.

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