Mordents "fall off" the main note as if dying.
I almost always begin trills from the upper auxiliary. Here a broad knowledge of
the particular composer's habits is important (not to mention the practices of a
publisher and/or engraver!)
Some people maintain that, especially in French music, the + above a note
indicates a trill that begins from the main note. I follow this general rule:
Squiggles start above the main note; pluses start on the main note and go up;
squiggles with vertical lines through them start on the main note, move to the
lower auxiliary and then back to the main note "with great feeling"
The realization of Baroque ornamentation is a wonderfully complex topic.
Especially in French music one finds tremendous latitude in the execution of "les
For the English style I find two slashes is an upper auxiliary trill ending on the
main note and one slash is a mordent. This is sometimes very difficult but we are
dealing here with the development of the virtuoso style. Heaven knows I'm a
newcomer to the style but that seems to work in most contexts. I do not know
when, if, and how the nachslag was added to certain trills in the virginal
school. Who here knows this? Are they assumed ever? I notice they are written
out in places. Is this because they were rare or because they were obbligato in
Thanks for your thoughts on this.