Improving One-Handed Trills


Question: How can I get better and faster at playing one-handed trills?

The harp does not lend itself easily to trills, so trills require very careful and patient practice. The three topics to be worked on are late placing, relaxation, and strong, even tone. The constant muffling that occurs when placing for the next note creates an obstacle for the fluency of the trill. The secret is to place extremely late, basically at the same time as playing the other note. The goal is to avoid absolutely any “sitting” on the string. Being relaxed is critical: use arm oscillation and complete finger motion. Always practicing at least mezzo forte—if not forte—will train a good tone and singing quality of the trill. This should be supported by weight from the arm to avoid any tension. Ensuring that all fingers always place the same amount of flesh on the strings will also contribute to an even tone color.  

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