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GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR SCORE PREPARATION

Below are a few guidelines and hints for preparing your score for the reading. Most of
these are common sense, though sometimes easily forgotten. Please read through them
carefully, even if you are experienced with orchestral writing.

1. Scores must be DOUBLE-SIDED, with complete instrumentation (including all


percussion instruments), duration, and performance notes (where appropriate).
Format is 11 x 17 only.
2. Please indicate whether your score is transposed or non-transposed (in C).
Transposed preferred for tonal pieces.
3. PROOFREAD YOUR SCORES!
4. Make sure that ALL instruments are given on the first score page. Successive
score pages with wind or brass instruments written on a single staff should have
instruments labeled accordingly. For instance, if you are using 2 oboes on a
single staff, label that staff “ob. 1, 2”.
5. Be sure to include rehearsal marks throughout. Remember that rehearsal marks
often appear every 7 to 10 bars, depending on the speed of the music.
6. Unless you are using only 1 or 2 percussion instruments throughout, percussion
should be written on a 5-line staff and labeled by player (e.g. Percussion 1,
Percussion 2, etc.). Percussion instruments should be labeled in boxed text, with
sticks indicated in parentheses. If a percussion instrument continues on the next
page, label that instrument in parentheses at the next entrance as a reminder.
7. PROOFREAD YOUR SCORES!
8. Be sure that all string divisis, tuttis and soli are clearly indicated. Remember that
“unis” cancels out “div”; tutti applies when only when following a passage
involving soli or some subset of strings (e.g. “outside players only”).
9. Remember that a2 (or a3 or a4) is used for winds and brass ONLY to indicate
unison passages. When only one player is used, label it with an arabic numeral
followed by a period (e.g. 1., 2., etc.). If the part is particulary soloistic, indicate
“solo” followed by the player number.
10. PROOFREAD YOUR SCORES!
11. Don’t use one staff for two or more instruments if they are playing different
rhythms—split the staves!
12. Bar numbers are usually presented at the beginning of each system, but they may
be indicated every bar, so long as they don’t interfere with score reading.
13. Make sure your notation isn’t so small that it makes the score difficult to read, nor
so large that the score looks overcrowded. Imagine you are conducting the score
—how would YOU want it to look?
14. Be as specific as possible about all dynamics, articulations, pedalings, etc. The
more detail in your score, the fewer questions players will have in rehearsal.
15. PROOFREAD YOUR SCORES!