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nikolas

Look And Feel Of Cutaway Scores?

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Hi all,

I'm getting ready to print yet another bunch of scores. And I'm very keen on using the idea of cutaway scores, as seen in the images bellow:

http://www.nikolas-s...MF/sparrow1.jpg

http://www.nikolas-s...MF/sparrow2.jpg

http://www.nikolas-s...F/sparrows3.jpg

But the score, as it currently stands is problematic for use in performance. The cutaway features get in the way of most performers and most performers do NOT enjoy that. So I've decided to use a full, normal, score for performances (along with the parts of course).

Analysing and composition is another matter however. As a composer (and an engraver and a publisher) I very much find that the above score depicts in every detail the ideas of the composer and should be easier for composers to study it. So I would still like to use this type of a score for a study score (smaller size, etc).

How do YOU (as composers) feel about this, please?

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I like it. It's maybe better for smaller ensambles, than full orchestral pieces, 'cause it can be confusing for the reader too in my opinion.

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Again for full orchestral scores, if the 'cues' are namber, I think it works. However conductors seem to think differently... :( So I'm forced to go the other way, or both ways perhaps! I'll see...

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I've never used them for performances and I'm not a conductor so I can't comment on them from that perspective but I think they're great for following difficult, "busy" pieces of music. We used to look at a lot of Boulez/Lutoslawski/Berio scores in analysis classes that use cutaway scores and they were great for following along. If you got lost, as you often would in some of the heavy-going modernist pieces, you could always see the next entry of an instrument clearly to find your bearings and as you say, it seemed to give an idea of the composer's intentions. I also think it's good psychologically because starting to analyse an orchestral score can seem like a daunting task but cutaways remove unnecessary clutter from the score making it seem more manageable.

Given the choice, I think I'd lay all of my scores out like this. Can I ask, how are you doing it? Is there an option on a notation program for this kind of layout? I've been looking for a way to do something similar on Sibelius but I can't figure it out.

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thanks tuohey! These are exactly my thoughts.

For performance, the performers will be getting their parts (normal parts), so there's no issue there, but the pianist, who most likely will use this score, will have severe issues: When not playing, his staves are taking away, which means that instead of counting 8 bars of rests, he has to be very careful to what's going on in order to get back when it's his time to play.

_____________________

Both Sibelius and Finale have this option!

In sibelius7, since you've asked, you do the following:

Home -> Instrument change (I have it assigned to "i") -> others (expand) -> No instrument (hidden). You decide if you want the other options mentioned or not and then (or before hand) you chose the staff you want this to happen.

If you try it, you'll figure out the little details.

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I hate them with a firey passion. They're more difficult to read than traditional scores and they don't serve much benefit other than to reduce the total amount of ink on the page. I can see where things start just fine without having to deal with sudden blank staves. Also, there's the issue of rests being musically important too. In order to have sound there must also be silence, and the length of a rest is just as important as a length of a note. So show the rest, don't be lazy.

For the record, if I'm conducting and a composer hands be a cutout score I would hand it back and tell them to get me one with all the staves put in correctly.

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Nikolas, try and have a look for the score for Berio's Points on the Curve to Find. If you haven't already heard it, it's basically a piano concerto and the score is a cutaway. There is a section about 2/3 in where the piano drops out for a while but I don't have the score to hand to see how it's dealt with in that situation but if you can get hold of a score maybe that will give you a clue. I would expect there would still be dotted lines in place of bar lines so the pianist would still be able to count bars from them as opposed to counting empty bars. Although maybe I shouldn't recommend that piece as the entire piano part is notated on one treble staff so it isn't exactly pianist-friendly as it is, damn modernists and their notation!

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I hate them with a firey passion. They're more difficult to read than traditional scores and they don't serve much benefit other than to reduce the total amount of ink on the page. I can see where things start just fine without having to deal with sudden blank staves. Also, there's the issue of rests being musically important too. In order to have sound there must also be silence, and the length of a rest is just as important as a length of a note. So show the rest, don't be lazy.

If you hate something with a firey passion it already means that you're SO biased that your opinion isn't really THAT important. Still this post serves a purpose: If I am to ever send you a score (which you would have to buy of course) I would make sure that it's a normal full score.

BTW, the purpose of a cutaway score is NEVER to reduce the ink on a page (since printers do NOT charge by the ink, but by the page). The idea is to show clearly the intentions of the composer in a much more visible way (and to help offer cues all round).

Finally, I know that this is an expression of sorts, or something similar, but if you think for a second that the above score is like that because "I'm lazy" you're hugely mistaken!

For the record, if I'm conducting and a composer hands be a cutout score I would hand it back and tell them to get me one with all the staves put in correctly.

Yes, already covered that, but just one little thing: It's not "correctly", but "how I prefer them". Better this way!

- Politcially police out

tuohey: Thanks. I'll see if I can find it and have a look. I know other scores that have these features, I'm not alone at this, of course, or unique, and this style is not my idea. I can't take any credit for that.

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But they don't help with giving cues. When staves have their lines consistent horizontally it is easier for the eye to follow them *across* the page from the instrument name in the left margin to the right where the music is. With no lines its easier to miss this relationship and cause errors. That's why I don't like them, because they make my job as a performer (and composer, for that matter) harder.

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But they don't help with giving cues. When staves have their lines consistent horizontally it is easier for the eye to follow them *across* the page from the instrument name in the left margin to the right where the music is. With no lines its easier to miss this relationship and cause errors. That's why I don't like them, because they make my job as a performer (and composer, for that matter) harder.

Fair enough. As I said I see your point.

But as far as I'm concerned, and for studying purposes it's easier (especially with 4 instruments above the piano, there's little chance of missing who is what and what now...). You don't need a horizontal five line staff to connect you to the instrument that's playing!

As a performer, in this case you would either be getting your own parts, perfectly logically set up (no cutaway on parts, no reason to), and if you're the pianist you should be looking to what's going on above. This is the ideal situation of course and I do understand that missing the staves for the piano is not a stellar idea on many accounts, but still...

But as I said your opinion is well taken and understandable! Thanks

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Perhaps it's my "traditional" mindframe towards music, but I feel rather uneasy about scores printed this way. That being said, I can agree they might be better suited for study purposes and for chamber-sized ensembles. But I'd never send such a score to performers :horrified:, much less if a full orchestra is involved. Smaller nitpicks have gotten me angry glares from conductors in the past :P ...

... damn modernists and their notation!

Hahaha... As if their music wasn't complex enough by itself...

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I think it comes down to custom really. Different ensembles perform different repertoire and therefore have different needs. I'm sure there are plenty of ensembles who specialise in contemporary music who would expect cutaway scores and other modern notation conventions and wouldn't have a problem with them. Likewise, I'm sure there are many orchestras/ensembles for whom they would be inappropriate but they probably wouldn't be the ensembles looking to play that music anyway.

You have to remember, traditional notation doesn't do it for everyone. I did a workshop with some members of a choir who specialise in early music and they were singing Josquin from the old, medieval notation. They insisted on doing that for authenticity reasons. Hand that to your everyday choir and it doesn't matter how good they are, they won't be able to read it. Not a fault of the choir and not a fault of the notation, just a mismatch.

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