Ornaments are symbols that tell the player to change the written note in a specific way. Some ornaments are written on the stave itself, while others are written above it. Ornaments are never written below the stave.

In the ARBSM grade four exam, you need to be able to recognise and name the following ornaments:

  • trill
  • turn
  • upper mordent
  • lower mordent
  • acciaccatura
  • appoggiatura

The ornaments are the same in the Trinity grade 5 exam, except the turn is not included.

(Try to learn how to spell them correctly too! The last two are the hardest – try to remember which letters are doubled!)

You need to learn each ornament’s symbol, name and how it is written out. In the ABRSM grade four exam you might be asked to name an ornament from looking at its written out type, instead of its symbol.

Symbol Name Description of symbol How it Sounds
trill Trill “tr” (often with a wavy line)  trill
turn Turn Like a backwards “s” on its side turn in full
upper mordent Upper Mordent Short zigzag upper mordent in full
lower mordent Lower Mordent Short zigzag with a line through lower mordent in full
acciaccatura Acciaccatura Small sized quaver with a line through its tail acciaccatura in full
appoggiatura Appoggiatura Small sized note (e.g. a crotchet) appoggiatura in full

Ornaments Exercises

Hover your mouse over the questions (tap on mobiles) to reveal the answers.










lower mordent


upper mordent