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Manuscript Standard Practice

Discussion in 'Score Study Resources' started by Rohann van Rensburg, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. So I'm trying to make my own in order to transcribe by hand vs Musescore, but I'm having a hell of a time even finding templates or the like online that remotely cover a full orchestra out of curiosity. I tried printing out enough lines for a full orchestra (in the Orch 1 video Mike's there looks to be about 35), but the 11x17 I printed on makes the ledgers awfully small, and Mike's paper is rather huge (ANSI-D [22x34"] maybe?).

    How do composers write their scores out by hand (and how do you guys transcribe by hand)? Do you just go section by section with i.e. a 12 ledger book or do most of you/most composers print out their own huge posters like Mike does? I'm all for it but it's strange I can't find many examples. All of the scores I've found online (i.e. Williams' handwritten scores) are presented with all sections together on large paper, by the looks of it.
  2. I don't use a full score pad for a few reasons. I use a sketch/short score pad of either 4 or 8 staves, I believe Williams uses an 8 stave layout. If I don't have one of my pads to hand I'll just use standard 12 stave paper and mark out 3 sets of 4 staves, or whatever I need.

    Here is my number one reason not to sketch on a full layout pad. Let's say you're transcribing and you hear clarinets, so you write out a clarinet part. The next day you listen again and realise it was oboes, so you can either erase what you wrote on the clarinet line and rewrite it on the oboes, or you can just make a note to say this bit should be on oboes (and if you've written something else on the oboes you can write a note for them too, and any others you messed up).This is tedious and hard to read. On my short score pad I would write out what I think is the clarinet line on one of my 4 staves, and I would write clarinets or CL above/below it. Then the next day when I realise it's oboes, I just erase the CL and write OB. Much faster and neater. When it's time to create a conductors score I can quickly enter my fully orchestrated sketch into Musescore.
    John Eldridge likes this.
  3. I'm not sure how the latter example is neater. I suppose if one had a prefab full orchestra page, but I was simply envisioning 30ish staves that were all blank and you fill in the instruments as needed. So in your example, when the clarinets drop their line and i.e. flutes take over, do you then just repurpose those staves for flutes? I would think seeing the full score all at once would be helpful to see what's going on in context.
  4. Yes.

    Here are two examples of Williams' sketch for The Tennis Game from Witches of Eastwick, you can see how he reuses the staves for different instruments.

    1.png 2.png

    Bruce Broughton uses a 16 stave score with a mostly fixed layout and pre-ruled bar lines. I guess everyone works differently but I find the more staves I have the longer it takes.
  5. Ah that makes sense. I suppose especially if one is experienced this would expedite the process and give one a better sense of what the core of the composition is.

    But for transcription purposes, isn't it useful to see where certain instruments are doing what in the context of the whole? And i.e. if one thinks one is hearing strings, horns, vocals and percussion but it turns out there are subtle wind parts playing as well, wouldn't this look even more confusing if one ran out of staves?
  6. You definitely need to use the method that gives you the clearest picture of the composition.
  7. I'm open to other ways, for the record, just trying to understand the advantages. Do you think the "sketch" way is better for more advanced composers or is it equally advantageous regardless of skill?
  8. I believe that a full score pad is clearer to everyone, beginners and professionals alike: you can see what every instrument is doing without second guessing. For transcribing, I would always always recommend the full score layout; you ultimately want to learn how to write for the full orchestra, so that is what you should practice. In some of his classes Mike talks about the importance of the art element of the full score, and it really is important to get used to the whole thing, even visually. However, if you’re an experienced composer and if translating from sketch to full score in your mind’s eye will take no effort whatsoever, then I’d say go for whatever you like most.

    People use the 6 or 8 staff pad just to save time when on a deadline. As you said it does get confusing when a lot of instruments are playing, and you’re forced to short-hand a lot of stuff just because of lack of space.

    I would also be differentiating the tools you’re using depending on the goal: full score for learning purposes (transcribing) and maybe sketch for writing on a deadline (with possibly orchestrators helping you down the line). However if no orchestrators are available, I personally think I would still be faster on the full pad, I don’t need to decipher what I meant in the sketch after the fact.

    I found using the full layout on an A3 a pleasant experience.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  9. I took this approach for transcribing Lord of The Rings and other full orchestra scores. I find the 11x17" to be tolerable but awfully small, however printing larger paper is out of the question due to cost ($0.13/page vs. $2 or more due to custom sizing). I definitely understand the application for sketching on a small pad, but a large pad seems much more useful for seeing what the entire orchestra is doing at any given moment while transcribing, at least for where I'm at.
  10. You could also write something like this:

    https://www.google.it/imgres?imgurl=https://filmmusiccentral.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/c51f3-d4a36c03148af8b47ac588675c30d018daec9c13.jpg&imgrefurl=https://filmmusiccentral.com/2015/11/17/overture-from-ben-hur-by-miklos-rozsa/&docid=aaEifPeztNcJuM&tbnid=Hizl-dy4YDxGUM:&vet=10ahUKEwiJ0_rEuOrcAhVHTBoKHTBDA6kQMwg5KAYwBg..i&w=504&h=692&client=opera&bih=732&biw=1280&q=miklos rozsa ben hur sheet original&ved=0ahUKEwiJ0_rEuOrcAhVHTBoKHTBDA6kQMwg5KAYwBg&iact=mrc&uact=8

    indicating what instrument have to play and when, etc. I think if you handwrite something you can do it quickly this way but it depends from you, depends on how do you feel more comfortable and how much time do you have to then transcribe on musescore if you need…

    For example Alan Silvestri said in an interview that he write through an iPad with a sheet music on adobe photoshop (or it was adobe reader, I don’t remember) and then he sends it to the orchestrator or to the copyst and they do the rest of the work (transcribe in sybelius…)

    Mike Verta did also these videos, I don’t know if you have seen.

    – However there is also the possibility to play in you DAW with midi keyboard and have automatically written the sheet music (like for the Logic Pro score editor which is already integrated in the DAW).

    In this case you have to adjust a bit the notes after but maybe is faster than other methods, I don’t know… try some of these, try the method which inspires you the most and then you’ll see.

    – Last method I know is to play through midi keyboard in Musescore or also to do it with the computer keyboard with a 21” or 27” video monitor in vertical… I think would be very fast.

    Indeed I read about musicians that have tried staff pad on Windows Surface and they said that it was ok but too much slow in comparison to simply put notes inside Sybelius (or musescore, finale etc.) with computer keyboard.

    You have to try and choose what’s the best for you. ;)

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