A

David

Darling

turn

turn gruppetto

Figure 3. The turn sign may be placed after the note itself or over it.


types of turn

Figure 4. Types of turn.


turn of slow tempo

Figure 5. Turn of slow tempo.


turn of fast tempo

Figure 6. Turn of fast tempo.


A turn, also known as a gruppetto (Italian for 'grouplet'), is an ornament consisting of four or five notes that make a 'turn' around a note. An upper turn consists of the note above the principal note, the principal note, the note below the principal note, and the principal note. An inverted or lower turn replaces the above pattern with its inversion, i.e. starting with the note below the principal note.

 

upper turn
Figure 1. Upper turn.
lower turn
Figure 2. Lower turn.

 

The figure is performed after the note itself or instead of it, according to whether the turn sign is placed after the note itself or over it (see Figure 3).

 

The inflection of the upper or lower note of the turn is shown by the placing of a sharp, flat, natural, etc., sign above or below it (see Figure 4).

 

When the turn occurs after the note much is left to the taste of the performer as regards the division of the time available. The general principle seems to be that the turn is to be performed pretty quickly. To bring this about, the first example just given (if occurring in a slow tempo) might be treated as shown in Figure 5.

 

On the other hand, in a very quick tempo it might be treated as shown in Figure 6 (indeed there might be no time to treat it in any other way).