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Topic: Turning Pages?

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  1. #1

    Turning Pages?

    How do classical musicians turn the pages of their parts if they have both hands occupied?

  2. #2

    Re: Turning Pages?

    If the instrumental parts are prepared properly, they will be laid out so that there is a rest at the end of the two-page spread to allow time to turn pages.

    Orchestral musicians rarely play continually, so there are usually several multi-measure rests during the course of the piece. Any competant copyist knows to place page turns during one of those rests.

    In the case of string players, it is normal for two people to read from the same part, so if there are no good places for page turns, one player can stop playing and turn the page while the other continues to play.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3

    Re: Turning Pages?

    Quote Originally Posted by danpowers View Post
    If the instrumental parts are prepared properly, they will be laid out so that there is a rest at the end of the two-page spread to allow time to turn pages.
    Shame noone ever thinks like that with piano accompaniments. There Murphy's law kicks in, and the page turn is invariably at a point where the soloist has a rest, and the accompanist is playing the densest music in the whole score.
    David

  4. #4

    Re: Turning Pages?

    If they've any sense the photocopy the parts and tape them all together in one long sheet. Then roll up the sheet and turn it - No I'm getting silly now, but I have seen pianists do this getting a long sheet across the top of the piano

  5. #5

    Re: Turning Pages?

    Quote Originally Posted by buckshead View Post
    If they've any sense the photocopy the parts and tape them all together in one long sheet. Then roll up the sheet and turn it - No I'm getting silly now, but I have seen pianists do this getting a long sheet across the top of the piano
    That's pretty much what I do if the music's terribly involved - the long sheet that is, not the scrolling..

    Although I once made the mistake of doing it with a Serial piece. A thing called 'Le Merle Noir' by Messiaen, for flute and piano. It was five pages long, and I couldn't manage the turn from pg 4 to 5. So I copied pg 5, and intended to put it next to the book on the piano, but forgot to take it out as I went on stage. So I turned over from pg 2 to see the blank side of a photocopy covering pg 4. Perfect!!
    David

  6. #6

    Re: Turning Pages?

    In pit orchestras, keyboard players have page turners. I actually had occassion to do both when I was in college. One of the two keyboard players for a musical that I wrote quit the day before the dress rehearsal and there was simply no one else that could learn the whole show in a day or sight read it well enough. Playing piano in the pit was a very different experience than I normally have as an actor. You're always thinking about the next music cue. Come to think of it, I had never played piano in public before that. Maybe, it was a good thing that the audience couldn't see me.

    I filled in as a page turner for the piano player on another show. I was never a very good player, but she said that I was the best page turner she'd ever had because I could sight read well enough and I at least had a sense of how far ahead a pianist is looking and how quickly the page needs to be turned. If the music wasn't particularly complex or she was especially confident of a passage, she would simply nod her head to indicate that I could turn it earlier.

    Oddly enough, however it's done, it all seems to work out. It reminds me of that bit in the movie "Shakespeare in Love" where the theater manager tells his investor that the show always comes together at the last minute, though nobody can say exactly why. He shrugs and says "It's a mystery".
    Love it.

  7. #7

    Re: Turning Pages?

    Thank you for your help, I was wondering for a long time about this because when I read scores, I see many times were there aren't any rests at the end of the page, but I just now realized that there will be a lot more measures on the page with only one instrument per page.

  8. #8

    Re: Turning Pages?

    When I used to do a lot of pit work you could always turn pages with one or other hand depending on what's going on. There would be generally something other going on in the band to cover any slight and sudden thinning of the amount of notes!!

    But this subject reminded me of what it was like to do long runs of the same show - sometimes six months to a year. Anybody else had this happen to them?

    You've been playing the show for ages and it's really under your fingers, all going well, turning the pages, thinking about what you fancy for supper that night, maybe a nice cold beer after the......
    Suddenly you actually LOOK at the part and recognise absolutely NOTHING about what's in front of you.

    Quick surge of adrenaline and off you go again - probably no one notices but OMG that was close.

    Anyone else done that?

    regards

    Barrie

    BTW never ever saw a pit keyboard player with a page turner in the UK, no-one would pay for it for one thing, and I'd expect the brass players would want one too!!

  9. #9

    Re: Turning Pages?

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB View Post
    When I used to do a lot of pit work you could always turn pages with one or other hand depending on what's going on. There would be generally something other going on in the band to cover any slight and sudden thinning of the amount of notes!!

    But this subject reminded me of what it was like to do long runs of the same show - sometimes six months to a year. Anybody else had this happen to them?

    You've been playing the show for ages and it's really under your fingers, all going well, turning the pages, thinking about what you fancy for supper that night, maybe a nice cold beer after the......
    Suddenly you actually LOOK at the part and recognise absolutely NOTHING about what's in front of you.

    Quick surge of adrenaline and off you go again - probably no one notices but OMG that was close.

    Anyone else done that?

    regards

    Barrie
    Yep! Happened to me in the middle of my final year recital at uni. I was playing 'Three Movements from Petrouchka.' I'm guessing the notes had been under my fingers for about 6 months before the recital, and I hadn't needed to look at the music to practise it in that time. But I didn't quite trust myself to play without it. So I took the music on stage (and a page turner) and proceded to play. About 10 minutes in I just took a random look at the music, and my brain went, 'What the crap is that?!!' And it wasn't just close - it was very noticeable!
    David

  10. #10

    Re: Turning Pages?

    I can just about play "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" in my sleep by now, and every time I play it, I feel like I'm pretty much doing just that.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

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