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Orchestral Scores
For my sins I'm notating the orchestral score for the operetta we are about to perform from handwritten, error stewn, somewhat indecipherable and conflicting instrumental parts. From the full score I want to produce a conductor's copy and the orchestral parts. No problem in principle, but several practical points to consider.

  • What size of paper
  •     for the conductor?
  •     for the parts?
  • and what font size
  •     for the conductor?
  •     for the parts?
  • and how do you bind the individual parts sheets?

Any help gratefully received.

  • Haymo
  • Virtuoso
Re: Orchestral Scores
Reply #1
Peter, my tuppence worth:
Page size: Depends on what your printer can do - I (living in South Africa) can only print to A4
 
It's highly unlikely that "one size" will fit both conductor's score and the parts.

Parts: I used to prepare the parts at 20 pts (or 22pt) all in the same NWC file, but each part with its own layout,
and printed to PDF after the final checks have been made and then combined into a "PDF-book" (with an index which I've prepared in EXCEL) using PdfEdit.
Section letters in 20pt Boxmark2, Visibility: Top staff only (on each staff, so they do not clutter the score).
Use SPACERS to make things fit - I've adapted Rick's rg_Squash.php to (selectively)  insert 0.50 or 0.70 Spacers,
and I use Rick's rg_ZapSpacers.php to kill off spacers which I do not like.

Score: Make a copy of the "Parts" file, and adjust the layout.
          I used used 16pt - and hoped the conductor could read it.
Suggestions: Staff labels on ALL systems, with SHORT abbreviations (say 4 char max.)
                  Collapse what you can - this can save many pages in the score.
                   Layer what you can, eg. Clar.1 & Clar.2, with stems up and stems Down, reduce lengths of stems .
                  Print Multi-staff system separators.
                  (Ideally: LARGE page numbers, as well as LARGE Measure numbers )
 this is somewhat difficult in NWC at present, because there are no dedicated fonts for these. 

HTH   .    

 

Re: Orchestral Scores
Reply #2
Peter, my tuppence worth:  (etc)

Haymo,

It's uncanny but I use exactly the same metrics that you do: 20 pt for the parts, 16 pt for the score, abbreviated names, printing the score and parts to pdf etc.  I don't use spacers much however - maybe I should and I will look into that.

And yes, larger measure and page numbers (especially page number) would be a boon.  Even more so if size can be selected by user.

Re: Orchestral Scores
Reply #3
For binding 2-4 sheets, I use these pricing labels. Not cheap. ~10 years ago, I picked up a 3 roll pack for $10USD. (they are only sold with a replacement ink cartridge) But they really stick! I've not had one come off even on much used music that was bound several years ago. 3 stickers - 1 inch from top and bottom and 1 center. A three roll pack has over 3000 stickers. I've used about a roll and a half.

I highly recommend 24# paper, 28# for parts that fit on one page.

Much music is printed on 9x12 paper with some 10x13. This is hard to find and expensive.
I use 8 1/2x11. To make up for it, I use 1/2 margins left, right and bottom. Almost no top margin. One advantage of the smaller paper is that some players can spread 3 sheets across their stands.

I find 18pt for parts is best. 20pt if it fits on one page. I've done several renditions of the piccolo solo for Stars and Stripes Forever in 22pt. The pic players are standing for this and appreciate being able to read it without raising their stands.
Registered user since 1996

  • Haymo
  • Virtuoso
Re: Orchestral Scores
Reply #4
Small additions:
Before going all the way with the score, my suggestion is: Show a mockup of the first 2 pages to the conductor and discuss.
Similarly with the parts - the timpanist also sometimes is FAR away from his/her stand, making 22pt welcome.
What is the lighting going to be like? 18pt is generally fine for younger orchestra members with good sight....

With careful use of Spacers, one sometimes can print to 2 point sizes larger and on the same number of pages per part, than otherwise.
Triplets are good candidates for "Squashing" .....

Rick's suggestion for the conductor's score on larger paper, is ideal
 - if your printer can handle it and the conductor's stand can accept it.

8.5 x 11      inch is also known as Letter
8.27x 11.69 inch is 210 x 297 mm, also known as A4
 

Re: Orchestral Scores
Reply #5
I notate for an older group of musicians in a 16 piece jazz rehearsal band.  We play one to a part, and we don't have to stand as we might in performance.  Despite middle-age and old men' s eyesight, size 16 seems to be adequate.  However, we usually play in good lighting conditions.  I find size 16 allows me to economize on paper - important when you tote 16 folders around with 100 charts in each.  Most charts are one or two pages, a larger font would add an extra page to most, making the folders harder to put in my library box, and making the box that much heavier to tote around.

I always print to PDF - and print hard copy from the PDFs. The advantages are being able to see and fix mistakes without  wasting paper, and always being able to print a new part without reopening NWC, selecting the appropriate instrumental staff, tinkering with margins and print preview to get it right once more.
 
My printer setting is for letter size paper.  Letter, legal and tabloid (11 x 17) are the sizes sold at my local office supply store. Legal is too long for our folders, and tends to flop on a music stand, and my printer can't handle tabloid.

Generally I print on recycled multi-use 20 pound white paper, brightness 96, but I've also used 30 pound. I don't know if recycled paper would be good for inkjet printers; it's great for a laser printer.

I tape the parts together with a store brand invisible tape similar to Scotch Magic Tape.  It doesn't last more than a couple of years before it begins to tear down the seam. I have also used adhesive (surgical) cloth tape and masking tape.  The labels Rick uses look like a good idea, and that isn't a bad price.

Something I I'm may also do is load all the pdf charts onto my e-reader. That would allow me to hand that over to a player who can't find his part in his folder - this happens because the guys often swap parts around.

I don't normally need to make scores since I already have them.  However, on the few occasions I've done them, I think the easiest way to package them would be in a 1/2 inch three-ring binder, which would work best with two sided printing.
  • Last Edit: 2013-09-08 06:17 pm by David Palmquist

Re: Orchestral Scores
Reply #6
.... the timpanist also sometimes is FAR away from his/her stand, making 22pt welcome. ....
The same is true for cello players.

David posted several times in Printing Parts For Ensemble Members, but it might be helpful for newer forum members.
Since 1998

Re: Orchestral Scores
Reply #7
...

Something I'm may also do is load all the pdf charts onto my e-reader. That would allow me to hand that over to a player who can't find his part in his folder - this happens because the guys often swap parts around.

I don't normally need to make scores since I already have them.  However, on the few occasions I've done them, I think the easiest way to package them would be in a 1/2 inch three-ring binder, which would work best with two sided printing.

Just a quick addendum - I also use my tablet for music, singing in a choir. I'm using an Android app for managing my music collection which works pretty well for me, but I don't want to 'spam' the forums here with commercial endorsements. If anyone is interested in learning more about the app, please PM me.

On the readability front, one thing that I do for the PDFs that I generate for the tablet is to reduce the margins to a bare minimum. That lets me scale the printed part of the score a bit larger. This trick also works with printed parts that are in a 3 ring binder, if you put the pages in sheet protectors (where the holes are outside of the paper). Plus, the pages turn more quietly in sheet protectors than they do if they are "unprotected".

Re: Orchestral Scores
Reply #8
Thanks for all your replies. Most helpful.