Baroque composers often expected players to add decoration or ornamentation to the written music. A number of instruction manuals and annotated scores survive, showing us the type of ornamentation that players performed. Ornaments ranged from simple trills at cadential points to filling in leaps with passing notes to more extended decoration of sustained notes. This was particularly the case in slow movements.

Video Resources

In this clip, Nick demonstrates some ornamentation that can be added to Telemann's Largo.

Video Resources

In this clip, Nick shows how decoration can be applied to the faster Allegro.

Video Resources

Another way to add space to the music is by playing ends of phrases softly, then increasing the intensity at the beginning of the following phrase, as Helen does in this example.

Video Resources

In this clip, viola player Nick Logie demonstrates the importance of allowing the music to breathe.

1 - Understanding Sarabandes

2 - Phrasing and articulation

3 - Ornamentation

3 - Vibrato

3 - Syncopation and Playfulness in the Allegro

3 - Bowing in the Allegro



What is historically informed performance practice?

An introduction to historically informed performance practice of baroque music, and a look at period instruments and bows.


Allemande from JS Bach's Suite no. 1 in G for unaccompanied cello, BWV 1007

Ruth Alford explores this movement in the light of other baroque music for 'cello.


Giga from J S Bach's Partita no. 2 in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004

Helen Kruger looks at what what baroque theorists had to say about bowing, phrasing and articulation and applies it to this movement.


Largo and Allegro from G P Telemann's Viola Concerto in G, TWV51:G9

Nicholas Logie discusses phrasing, ornamentation and vibrato.


Further Reading