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la petite girafe Miscellaneous

Proofreading the Parts

Writing a decent piece of music is the one thing. Once a piece of music is written it cannot be considered finished—at all.

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Proofreading The Parts —
A story with the little giraffe

Writing a decent piece of music is the one thing. Let’s call it the exciting part of a composer’s work. Admittingly, reflecting—for hours and hours—on what kind of sound should come next isn’t always so exciting, though. However, once a piece of music is written it cannot be considered finished—at all.

Usually, the primary outcome of a composer’s work is a score. Of course it would be quite impracticable for the musicians to play from a full score, at least when we’re speaking about orchestra pieces or such music written for large ensembles. For that reason, the seperate parts are extracted from the score and need to be put into a pleasant layout in order that the musicians can read their parts most easily.

Finishing one part might take up to two hours, depending strongly on the length of a piece and the complexity of the graphics of the notation. When each part is done and looks nice, I always print the entire parts and continue working with the paper sheets. I observed that proofreading the parts only on a screen would lead me to overlooking too many mistakes, so I do this step of procedure in a rather old-fashioned way with a red pencil.

Now, let’s have a look at what the little giraffe can see on the picture. There’s a decrescendo-al-niente-line that’s colliding with the barline. This isn’t really looking so terribly beautiful and would perhaps bedevil the legibility of the part, so it needs to be patched. Furthermore, I marked a tempo text. As you can see, the A tempo is too close to the molto rall. and a musician could read A tempo rall. instead of playing the first bar A tempo and starting the molto rall. in the second one.

So, proofreading is somewhat important and one should carry out this work very carefully as it needs plenty of time and concentration.

In the end, there is one golden rule: The most annoying mistakes won’t reveal themselves, unless the final score is printed in high quality. (-;