"L’Ornement mystérieux" and Mark Kroll's Revision of the French Baroque Performance Practice

A. A. Panov, I. V. Rosanoff

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Th e interpretation of ornaments has always attracted much attention of scholars and perform-ers. Many Baroque musicians in their turn took pains to provide an explanation of ornaments realized in notation. Tables of these musicians have been thoroughly studied over the last one hundred fi ft y years, particularly, François Couperin’s table “Explication des Agrémens, et des Signes” which he included in his “Pieces de Clavecin” (1713). Th e authors of the present article came across a paper “L’Ornement mystérieux” by Mark Kroll published in Early Music 45, no. 2 (2017): 297–309. At fi rst glance this work seemed to present a solidly founded hypoth-esis pertaining to the execution of one of Couperin’s ornaments, namely, to the “compound ornament” marked by the combination of a trill with a turn written above it: . According to M. Kroll’s new hypothesis, this compound ornament should be performed not in the tra-ditionally accepted manner when the trill is performed fi rst, and the turn — aft erwards, but in the reverse order. Practically everywhere Kroll names this ornament also in the reverse version: “doublé/tremblement”. Th e purpose of the present article is to prove that the new hy-pothesis is basically unacceptable. Kroll did not pay due attention to the research of sources, relying only on four of them, while there were many more. In addition, the study of other very important historical sources showed that the turn was performed at the end of the “compound ornament” marked by the sign . Th erefore, this conclusion also attests that the previous rec-ommendations by A. Farrenc, A. Dolmetsch, P. Brunold, A. Geoff roy-Dechaume, K. Gilbert, Fr. Neumann, D. Tunley and other musicians, despite the fact that they were criticized by Kroll, on the whole, were correct.

Scopus subject areas

  • Music


  • French Baroque music, French harpsichord music, Baroque performance practice, François Couperin, “L’Ornement mystérieux”, ornamentation, Tremblement et Double, the compound ornament, doublé/tremblement


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