Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (4.6 MB)

Melodic ornamentation from Muffat to Telemann

Download (4.6 MB)
posted on 2021-11-14, 11:08 authored by Ward, Megan

Writers on 18th-century musical ornamentation have traditionally focused on the execution of notated ornaments, and on certain disputes arising from ambiguous and contradictory primary sources. Less attention has been given to the addition of ornaments where not prescribed by the composer. Such ornaments can be short, defined, patterns such as trills, turns, and mordents, or larger measured or unmeasured additions known as diminutions, divisions, or passaggi.  Additions of this nature are only in the rarest of cases compulsory. However, the practice of more or less spontaneous embellishment by the performer was so integral to pre-19th-century musical culture that this must have had a significant effect on composition.  The scope of this thesis is loosely defined by its titular composers, covering the period between Georg Muffat‟s later publications in the last years of the 17th century and G.P. Telemann‟s death in 1767. Both lived and worked in the German states, a region which had traditionally looked to Italian models of composition and performance. This period saw a flowering of German composition into its own unique and diverse genre which integrated aspects of various styles, most prominently Italian and French music.  This thesis centres on stringed instruments, but is directly relevant to woodwind players. Many aspects are also transferrable to the keyboard and to vocal music; however, these musicians will find a large volume of more targeted research elsewhere.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Helyard, Erin; Walls, Peter; Garden, Greer