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Topic: solo versus multiple instruments

  1. #1

    Question solo versus multiple instruments

    hi everyone
    let´s see i am going to use 2 flutes in an orchestracion. do i have to have 2 staves for each flute - or can i put them both on one staff? if one staff is OK, when i want only one flute to play, do i use the term 'solo'? and when both are playing, (in finale), do i put them in different layers?
    thanks to all of you for your advice and suggestions

  2. #2

    Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    I'm new to GPO so my advice might not be the best, but what I've discovered is that using two staffs is better. Assign one flute player (not solo) to each staff. The solo instruments play in a different style and don't fit well with orchestra.

    If your flute staff has chords, split the notes between the two staffs and it will sound much better. Otherwise you have two flutes playing the single notes, then when the two-note chords are played it sounds like four flutes all of the sudden, two flutes playing each note of the chord. That doesn't sound quite right.

    Others here may have better advice, but this works for me.

    --gary shannon
    --gary shannon
    Spooks! - The Movie

  3. #3

    Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    The convention for the conductor's score is to place them both on the same staff, especially if they move in parallel or don't cross, though I have seen a few exceptions.

    If they do frequently cross ranges or have wildly different rhythms (both of which are relatively rare), then it is at your discretion to place them on separate staves (for clarity's sake).

    When both are to play a single line, precede that passage with "a 2". When you wish either one to play alone, indicate that with Roman numerals: "I." for player one alone, "II." for player two alone, etc.

    There are a few reasons to follow this convention. First, it is easier to scan and comprehend the score when like instruments are grouped on the same staff. Second, it saves space, allowing for more instruments to appear on the score page. When one gets into larger ensembles, there is quickly very little room, even when placing pairs and trios on the same staff.


  4. #4

    Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    Darwin's answer made me realize that there's an important piece of information missing from your question: Are you writing this to be a printed score, or are you writing it for performance by GPO? If for printed score, Darwin's answer is the right one. If for playback with GPO then printing conventions don't matter, but performance characteristics do.

    I just assumed it was for performance by GPO since I never print scores myself.

    --gary shannon
    --gary shannon
    Spooks! - The Movie

  5. #5

    Smile Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    thanks gary and darwin. it is for print and for gpo - but to be heard most of all. yes, i undersstand the convention of putting them on the same staff. but, when i want both to play the same thing - HOW DO i precede with a '2'? - i mean how do i do that in the finale score? and when solo, how do i precede that in the finale score with a roman numeral I?
    thanks much again guys.

  6. #6

    Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    if the score is mainly for playback, in Finale, use different instruments for each staff.

    For example, I use solo flute KS for my 1st flute, and flute vibrato for my second flute (I rarely need 2 flutes doing fluttertongue, so 2 KS instruments aren't in my needs).

    I do the same thing for the rest of the orchestra, each instrument on its staff:

    oboe solo modern 1 (or 2, or 3, it depend which sound you prefer for thos solo passages), and one of the other oboes as 2nd oboe on its own staff

    Clarinet in Bb solo, and a second clarinet

    the two Bassoon solos (1 and 2)

    for the horns, I use the Horn in F solo for 1st horn, then the three KS instruments as 2nd, 3rd, and 4th horns

    three KS trumpets

    the trombones as well the tuba.

    all my percussion, and the strings is a pretty easy choice.

    this way, when I write a passage that requires a unison of 2 clarinets, or 2 flutes, I really AM getting a unison of those two. and when I require a solo, I HAVE a solo.

    you can also adjust each instrument's volume individually from the Instrument List window this way (the clarinets tend to be a bit too loud compared to the others woodwinds).

    One thing I REALLY like to do is to place all my woodwinds in the same Kontakt Player, all my brass in the next Kontakt Player, then my percussion, and my strings in their own player as well.

    This takes a tiny bit longer to prepare a score (since you have to do the loading of instruments manually the first time, or use the Wizard to start then need to redefine all teh channel assignements), but then I save it as a template and all the hard work is done.

    NOTE: don't forget to add "hard space" with the Wizard between the groups that will need it - between woodwinds and brass, brass and eprcussion, and percussion and strings.

    The advantage of having instrumetanl groups on different players is that you can then use the Kontakt Player's Output option to adjust volume for an entire group within your orchestra.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Dallas, TX

    Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    I think if you want both a score to publish and to playback, it's best to have two different .mus files, one with a separate stave for each instrumen't for playback, and one that will look like the published scores you buy.

    The published score i'm working from has Flute 1 & 2 on one stave and Flute 3 & 4 on another stave, and it's that way for all instruments that have 2 or more. It is marked A2 wherever two are playing, and marked "1." if only player 1 is playing. It is marked .div where applicable in the Strings. If Flute Player 1 is solo for less than the whole page, Player 2 has rests on that same stave.

    This score is is supposed to by like the original from 1890, so i don't know if those practices are different now.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Dallas, TX

    Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    Michel, That's looks like a great tip, giving each group it's own player, thanks for posting that and the tip about saving it as a template.

  9. #9

    Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    it is becoming considerably more wide-spread and acceptable to write each instrument on individual staves, particularly if the music is heavily complex and contrapuntal in nature, with multiple crossings of voices which would be too confusing on single staves.

    As long as the score is clearly written, with a bit of additional space between orchestral choirs, I see no reason not to use this format. The additional space between orchestral choirs is actually a "must". Without that extra space the score becomes too large a mass of staves, and the brackets and braces at the beginning of each system are not enough to rapidly identify instrumental groupings.

    The only reason I would use multiple instruments on shared single staves is if my other option (one staff per instrument) creates a score that is too fine to read. With very large orcehstral scores, this is a distinct possibility.

    HOWEVER... if you start out with a single staff per instrument score in Finale, it is an easy task to then condense that score to the other format. besides, if the score requires the occassional individual staves, you've already got them, all set up!

  10. #10

    Re: solo versus multiple instruments

    thanks david, michel, gary, darwin, and all. i may have to ask for some more help here as i do it. - setting up this way of putting all instruments on their own staff for gpo playback - and separating them in kontakt.
    so-- for playback - consensus seems to be if you have 3 trumpets, use 3 staves, - if you have 4 horns, use 4 staves. that is what i am getting in the english - bear with me on that guys por favor - for best playback results. up to now, having gotten finale2008 last month and a big space Mac quad pro the month before (2.5 terras) with 9 gig memory - which ought to handle finale -
    i have done 4 piano encores written in the 60s - 1 minute, 3 minutes, nothing more than 5 - plus a 9 minute piece for cello and piano, and an 18 minute sonata in 2 movements for cello and piano both composed this year.
    what i have left so far is a piano concerto from 1961 and a viola concerto from 2006. of course, they are more complicated. the piano work uses 3 flutes /with a piccolo/, 3 oboes, 3 bassoons, 4 horns,~3 trumpets, 3 trombones and tube, timpani, cymbal, bass clarinet along with 2 or 3 clarinets, regular strings, and piano. that might be a large score with each staff having 1 instrument - but there are larger orquestas no doubt.
    MUCHISSIMAS GRACIAS caballeros. you all help me so much.

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