A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place.
One of the fun parts about my job is working with clients from all over the world, helping them prepare their scores and parts to the highest professional standards. Most often, this involves them sending me their Finale files and then I go to work on them, changing settings and formatting, then going through and putting everything where it belongs. My client's "Finale expertise" ranges are all over the map. Some are experienced composers, but don't really know how to use the software; some have been using it for a while, but want to make sure it looks just right; some could easily do it themselves if they wanted to devote that much time and attention to it, but they recognize just how much time it actually takes and realize that would take time away from their passion (actually composing); and there's even one who probably knows more about Finale than I do, but they also know the value of having another professional take a look at it for a final proofread, in addition to the issue of how much time it takes away from more creative efforts.
Today, I wanted to take a moment and address some of the most common mistakes/problems/issues/whateveryouwanttocallthems that I often see in scores and parts that are sent to me. This is by no means calling anyone out, as I see these problems ALL THE TIME from many, many different people. Sometimes from clients, but also (mainly) from people who post and share their music online asking for feedback. Again, I am not calling anyone in particular out...I'm offering help for common mistakes.
For some of you, these may seem obvious. If that's the case, then fantastic! This article isn't meant for you. You may continue on your way crafting beautiful scores and parts and I will take no more of your time (yet). But I know that these little tips will be very helpful to some people because of what I see posted/shared nearly every day on the interwebs.
These are in absolutely NO particular order.
NOTE: These comments/suggestions are geared towards music for print music publication (all styles...including jazz). Film Scores and Musical Theater live by some different formatting rules, and as they are not my areas of expertise, I will not pretend to be an expert in those fields.
#1 - Dedication Information
The dedication line (if necessary) goes above the title and in italics. (Gould, p.504)
I often see it mistakenly placed below the title, where the subtitle would go.
Well, that's about it on this topic. That was easy :-)
Markings that affect everyone in the ensemble, such as rit., accel., a tempo, etc. do not need to be placed in every line of the score. They must appear in all parts, of course, but not in the score. Seems obvious, yes, but I see this all of the time!
Global markings that effect everyone equally should appear at the top of the score and again above the strings (in symphonic works) like the following example.
But never this... (while this one may seem ridiculous, I assure you that I see this at least once a week when people share their scores online in forums asking for feedback (or more often, asking for validation and praise....but that's a different article altogether).
Keeping it on point
I have a list of more little things that need to be addressed, but as I was making this I realized that they had more to do with other aspects of music preparation than they do with "putting things where they belong on the page." In an effort to keep these as organized and structured as possible, I'm going to save the other tips for another time when I can pair them together with similar tips.
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