Ornament (music)

In music, ornaments or embellishments are musical flourishes—typically, added notes—that are not essential to carry the overall line of the melody (or harmony), but serve instead to decorate or "ornament" that line (or harmony), provide added interest and variety, and give the performer the opportunity to add expressiveness to a song or piece. Many ornaments are performed as "fast notes" around a central, main note.

Extreme example of ornamentation as a fioritura from Chopin's Nocturne in D major

There are many types of ornaments, ranging from the addition of a single, short grace note before a main note to the performance of a virtuosic and flamboyant trill. The amount of ornamentation in a piece of music can vary from quite extensive (it was often extensive in the Baroque period, from 1600 to 1750) to relatively little or even none. The word agrément is used specifically to indicate the French Baroque style of ornamentation.