Grace Note Defined
Figure 1.1 – Grace notes can be written with or without a connecting slur.
Acciaccatura vs. Appoggiatura
THE ACCIACCATURA (or "crushed note")
THE APPOGGIATURA (or "leaning note")
Appoggiatura is a grace note that is played on the strong beat. Here, the emphasis is on the grace note as opposed to the main note, which makes the appoggiatura rhythmically and melodically important. Appoggiaturas are most often written as eighths notes (quavers) with a little slur connecting them to the main note.
Multiple Grace Notes
So far we have talked about grace notes consisting if just one note. And while this is quite common, grace notes can also come in twos, threes, fours, or even more notes (less common).
Two grace notes are usually written as sixteenth notes, while three and four grace notes are written as either sixteenth or thirty-second notes. Anything above four is usually shown as thirty-second notes.
Figure 2.0 – Examples of multiple notes.
The two-note grace note is also known as the double appoggiatura, the three-note grace note as the triple appoggiatura, and so on. But this name can be misleading, since these are almost never played on the beat, like the regular appoggiatura is. Instead, they are played in a “crushed” manner, like the acciaccatura.
Grace notes are a wonderful musical ornament and learning how to execute them correctly and effectively will make your performance that much more beautiful.
You will most likely come across grace notes in the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. As music continued to change and evolve after the classical period, their use became less prevalent.
If you found this article useful, you might also enjoy these:
Just fill out our quick trial lesson form and wait to hear from us within 1-2 business days. If you like your trial lesson, you can sign up for regular lessons with us! Our lessons are available online (Zoom or Skype) as well as in-person if you live close to our location. Start learning your favorite instrument with one of our amazing teachers today!