Rehearsal Marks?

Different standards exists and each have their merit for different types of music. From working in studio sessions and TV and concert performances with symphony orchestra I’ve adopted the bullet proof standard of marking each double barline with a big enclosed bar number acting as the rehearsal mark. Each bar number is still shown at […]

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Player numbering

Dorico 3 has revolutionised the way automatic player labelling is done by the condensing feature but if you’re stuck on Finale, Sibelius or any other you have to label your staves like a caveman. Say you’re writing your score in a condensed way so what two flutes share a staff. This staff should then be […]

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Beam me up

As notation software still leave the user to choose different beaming options I’ld like to go through the standards for how to beam notes shorter than a quarter note. Generally we beam according to beats and all beams exceeding beats are broken while beams within a beat division is connected. First thing is to recognise […]

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When to signal keys

You might have noticed your notation program others the possibility to have some instruments with ‘No Key Sig’ meaning not showing key signatures. In general there are three instruments that don’t use key signatures. These are: Horns Trumpets Timpani Regardless of whether you show key signatures for the rest of the instruments or you go […]

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Cresc. > dim.?

Indicating gradual dynamic change can happen in two specific ways The words crescendo and diminuendo or their respective abbreviations (cresc. / dim.) can be written in cursive underneath the staff. The hairpins ( < and > ) can be used between two dynamics. In general there is no real difference between the two ways. However […]

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Timps don’t trill

In older scores you invariably see different customs of notation that have been outdated through the centuries. One misconception I often encounter is the timpani trill line. Seemingly quite innocent and actually not that ambiguous the trill line for timpani is however obsolete. The trill is quite normal and seen quite often in particular in […]

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Dealing with dynamics

Amazingly none of the available notation software on the market does this automatically so the placement and font of dynamics is something you as a user should always keep in mind. First thing first the given dynamic should always be placed at the first note it affects. That’s why the tambourine has the ff placed […]

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Timpani don’t bracket

Even though many notation apps are quite good at many defaults, bracketing tend to be a hit and miss and something you should keep an eye out for. In general it’s good practice to bracket each section like this: Woodwinds Brass Percussion Strings If there are multiple staves for each instrumental family – e.g. two […]

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