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Topic: Score notation question(s)

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  1. #1

    Score notation question(s)

    Just starting to work with Overture to create a printed score for my Viking piece. So far, I like Overture a lot. Easy to work with and the results look very nice. But anyway, I have some general score questions...

    I know a typical score includes seperate staves for Violin 1 and Violin 2, and most of my piece falls within that just fine. But what if there is a part where I want part of a violin section to do one thing, and another part of the same section to do another. In other words, I need a few violins playing one particular thing in addition to the two sections playing their own things. Would I add a third stave for that section, named Violins 3? Or notate that extra part within one of the Violin 1 or Violin 2 sections? Same thing with the basses, which typically play together as a section, but in one part I have something for just a few basses to play, at the same time that more of them would play something else. Do I add an extra stave just for that part (Basses 2)? I\'m trying to keep as few staves as possible so they all fit on one page relatively comfortably. Everything fits nice as it is, but if I have to add another stave or two, it could be rough...

    Is it typically up to the conductor\'s discretion to determine how a section breaks down when it calls for multiple parts like that, or is it expected that the composer be very specific in terms of the number of instruments per part? Or is it the conductor\'s discretion as far as how a section breaks down even when there aren\'t multiple parts? For example, let\'s say there\'s a part for the trumpets, and maybe it would sound nice if only three or four of the trumpets played the part the first time, but the whole section played it on the repeat. Should that be indicated if I have something specific in mind, or left to the conductor\'s discretion? I suppose anything I have in mind should be indicated somehow (the conductor can always disregard it if he chooses), so then the question is how would that be indicated?

    Does this make any sense? I\'m reading it back and it sounds rather confusing! In any case, I\'d really appreciate some help.

    Also, does anyone have a list or a link to a list with the definitions of all of the little nuance and dynamic markings and Latin words used in a score?

    Or howzabout - does anyone have a copy of Orchestral Notation for Dummies?? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

  2. #2

    Re: Score notation question(s)

    Shaz, try posting this over on www.composeforums.com - you should find great help there quickly...

  3. #3

    Re: Score notation question(s)

    Thanks, Alan. I just did that.

  4. #4
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    Re: Score notation question(s)

    I wouldn\'t leave anything up to the conductor. Whatever you want, put into the score. As far as string writing, what you\'re referring to is string \"divisi\" passages. The part of your string writing where they\'re not playing in unison. If they\'re all playing the same rhythm but are in harmony, put both noteheads on the same note, and write \"div.\" This tells them not to play double stops. If you have the 1st violins for example playing parts that are different rhythmically, then this can all be put on 1 staff, but with the top violin notes all with the note-stems pointing up and the lower 1st violins with their note-stems pointing down. In Finale this is done with layers. Don\'t know what Overture calls it, probaly something similiar. This same principle hold true for all strings.

    If you have (8) 1st violins for example, they will probably play a divisi of 4 & 4 by default. If you want the top line emphasized more specify (5) for the top and (3) for the bottom.

    As far as woodwinds and brass parts, each player is accustomed to reading their own part. So if you have 3 trumpets playing, you need to make a 3 separate parts: 1st, 2nd & 3rd. It\'s up to you to decide what goes in which part. If you\'re not sure about something, let\'s say you have a trumpet line that might be a solo or might be unison. In that case put it in all 3 parts, but in the 2nd & 3rd parts write optional. In those cases make sure you\'re at the rehearsal to answer questions. Don\'t put too many optional things in your score. You\'ll waste valuable rehearsal time answering questions.

    Put tempo marking in your score. A lot of young composers just assume that a musician will play the right tempo. You can look up and use words like, cantabile, espressivo, rubato, sostenuto if you want to, but many modern composers just right in English what they want to convey to each player: play with feeling, sing out,, lightly, with authority, etc...

    dynamics from loud to soft:
    ffff, fff, ff, f, mf, mp, p, pp, ppp, pppp, niente (means nothing, zero)

    I\'d suggest that you pick up a book on music terminology, if you\'re going to be writing for orchestras it\'ll be an invaluable resource. Sorry to be so long winded.

    Jeff

  5. #5

    Re: Score notation question(s)

    [ QUOTE ]

    I\'d suggest that you pick up a book on music terminology, if you\'re going to be writing for orchestras it\'ll be an invaluable resource. Sorry to be so long winded.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Not long winded at all, and thank you very much for the explanation! I have already taken out Adler\'s book on orchestration from the library, but hadn\'t specifically found the answer to my questions here. It just occured to me that the book has an appendix that probably has the definitions I\'m looking for. I just haven\'t gotten that far yet... and I don\'t want to spoil the ending by jumping ahead. So far, I think the timpani player did it! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  6. #6

    Re: Score notation question(s)

    Adler book\'s is very good to learn how to \"play\" the orchestra. Personally, I learn more on how to write a score by reading works like Holst\'s \"The planets\", which is really cheap, or Elgar\'s Enigma variations, or Beethoven\'s \"Pastorale\", for more classical writing. These full scores are really a library of orchestral textures as well, so they are worth the investment.

    Anton

  7. #7

    Re: Score notation question(s)

    You should also consider getting a book on notation. Gardner Read\'s \"Music Notation: A Manual of Modern Practice\" is very good and readily available. Also \"Essential Dictionary of Music Notation,\" which is published by Alfred Publishing and is only $5.95. It\'s the cheapest book on notation that I know of, but it\'s also the one I refer to most often, mainly because it\'s so well organized and makes finding answers easy.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CString's Avatar
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    Re: Score notation question(s)

    Take a look at the score for Bela Bartok\'s Music for String, Percussion, and Celesta , first movement will do. It is a great example of how to write for multiple strings. No divisi writing that I can recall off the top of my head but still should be helpful.

    You can add another staff for the same section if your divisi writing gets too complex for one staff.

  9. #9

    Re: Score notation question(s)



    By the way...

    \"Also, does anyone have a list or a link to a list with the definitions of all of the little nuance and dynamic markings and Latin words used in a score?\"

    The language you see so much in scores is not Latin but ITALIAN. An offensive you must be very careful to avoid. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Ed Franceschini(huh!)

  10. #10

    Re: Score notation question(s)

    [ QUOTE ]
    The language you see so much in scores is not Latin but ITALIAN. An offensive you must be very careful to avoid. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Ed Franceschini(huh!)

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Ah, of course. Well, when I said \'Latin\' I was using an anagram of Italian. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]

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