Difference Between Tremolo and Trill

When someone wants to learn something he has to master the relevant techniques. The same applies to music. Music has a vast field. It is soothing to the ears but crucial to learn.

Without learning the proper use of different techniques one can not be a musician. Tremolo and Trill are one of those techniques.

Tremolo vs Trill

The main difference between tremolo and trill is that when the two notes that are located far apart and have fluttering between them is known as tremolo while in a trill, it is the fingers causing fluttering between two notes that are a whole or half step apart. Both seem to be similar but there is a clear difference between the two.

Tremolo vs Trill

A trembling effect produced by musical instruments is known as tremolo. Tremolo is a slight change in the pitch which is created by moving a bow or stick back and forth rapidly.

In the existence of tremolo, the amplitude of a sound wave changes periodically. Tremolo can be mistaken for a vibrator but it is very different.

In music, the alteration of two notes that are half or a whole step apart is known as a trill. Trill is a vibration. It can also be considered as flaps of the tongue or lips against other parts of the mouth.

Trill was also known as ‘shake’ in the early 20th century.

Comparison Table Between Tremolo and Trill

Parameters Of ComparisonTremoloTrill
OriginTremolo was invented by the composer Claudio Monteverdi in 1624. Trill was invented by Paul Baron in 1964.
TypesTremolo has two types: rapid reiteration and vibration in amplitude.Trill also has two types: measured trill and unmeasured trill.
AbbreviationThe abbreviation of tremolo is ‘trem’. The abbreviation of trill is ‘tr’ or simply ‘t’.
FieldThe term tremolo is related to the field of music. It is instrumental. Trill can be found everywhere since it is a form of a certain type of vibration that can be produced by any means.
InstrumentCello, a violin, the viola, are the instruments used to produce tremolo. It is played on the tip of a bow. A violin, the viola, and other bowed instruments are used to produce trill.

What is Tremolo?

Tremolo is a musical technique to create a trembling effect. When a bow or stick moves backward and forward at a certain speed, the sound produced is known as tremolo.

Various ranges of electronics are also used to achieve this variation in the amplitude of the sound. Tremolo is a centuries-old musical technique used by composers.

It is so vibrating that it can be mistaken with the term vibrato. The bow-strings instruments are usually used to achieve tremolos such as harp, violin, and guitar.

Playing guitar, when a single note is extremely repetitive, this process is known as bisbigliando.

It is another form of tremolo. To understand the term tremolo one can use an explanation that is when the pulsations of the bow are taken in the same direction by string to create the imitation of the preceding note, this entire process is called tremolo.

It is also found in instruments that use keyboards. Tremolo should not be confused with the trill. There is a thirty seconds note that is regularly repeated, it is also known as tremolo. Tremolo has three strokes: quavers, semibreves, and semiquavers.

Trem is the short form of tremolo used by musicians. There is always an uncertainty about what should be played, a demisemiquaver or an unmeasured tremolo.

What is Trill?

The alternation of two notes that are half or a whole step apart is known as a trill. It is a particular vibration. The flaps of the tongue and lips can also be considered trills.

Trill is a musical ornament that consists of rapid alterations between two adjacent notes.

It works as a provider of harmonic interest, rhythmic interest, and melodic interest. In modern musical notation, composers and musicians use ‘t’ as the short form of trill. Trill also should not be confused with tremolo. Instead, it is faster than tremolo.

Trill is not necessarily related to music. Other means can also produce trill. Trill is not as ancient as tremolo since it was invented in the mid-1900s. In Baroque, two wavy lines fall to indicate that a trill is expected.

There are two major forms of trill, diatonic trill, and chromatic trill. Both are unique and different from each other. To master the trill, one should play it slowly in the earliest phases. There should be evenness in the notes to create a satisfying trill effect.

There are two types of trill: measured trill and unmeasured trill. In measured trill, the notes are even, and in an unmeasured trill, notes are not even. Measured trill sounds better than unmeasured.

Main Differences Between Tremolo and Trill

  1. Tremolo is fluttering between those notes that are far apart while trill is fluttering between notes that are a whole or half step apart.
  2. To note a tremolo, slash marks are used. On the other hand letters, Tr is used to indicate a trill.
  3. A tremolo can be played by both hands while a trill is usually played by the left hand. They both have their methods.
  4. Trill sounds better than a tremolo and it is also faster than tremolo. But still one can not see the difference between the two without paying close attention.
  5. Trill was invented in 1964 while tremolo was invented in 1624 which makes tremolo a historically important technique used by musicians and artists.


Trill and tremolo both are very unique types of vibration. They are soothing to the ears that’s why musicians have been using them for a very long time.

Some say it is harder to learn trill than a tremolo. But the truth is every form or technique is hard to learn at first. They require time and dedication. It is very difficult to see the difference between both of them.

But when someone sees the technical terms, only then can he differentiate. They even sound the same. There are other forms of music as well and tremolo and trill supplement them.


  1. https://academic.oup.com/em/article-pdf/17817293/43.pdf
  2. https://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.1906663
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