Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by John Morton, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Each time the contests come around we all experience the nightmare of errata in parts produced by seemingly reputable publishers. Because we're all human it would be unwise to suggest that any method exists to eliminate errors completely but the number of errors on occasion is unjustifiable. I have a quality control check list taped to my computer - reference letters, articulations, dynamics, instructions to players...etc...etc. - and religiously tick each one off in turn, for all parts. I then have the piece test flown by a good local band. There's often another error somewhere.

    Beef No. 2: Instructions to players, except dynamics, should be placed above the stave and articulations should generally be opposite the stems except where there are two parts on a stave (for example).

    Beef No. 3: Some of the notation used in arrangements is baffling. I played a nice piece recently where, despite my 57 years of experience, I just couldn't get the hang of the illogical rhythmic notation used, even after half a dozen run-throughs. As soon as an opportunity arose in the rehearsal I mentally translated the bar into the correct form and I was OK. The rest of the band struggled, too, in case anyone blames it all on my age.

    Beef No. 4:
    Can arrangers please put reference letters in a logical place (i.e. at the start of an 8 (or whatever) bar section, not just dump them anywhere?

  2. DRW

    DRW New Member

    I'd add a similar 'beef' regarding split of multirests. There seems to be a lazy habit of not allocating them according to musical phrasing. The frequency of seeing consecutive multirests split e.g. 9 bars / 7 bars when 2 x 8 bars matches the phrasing is annoying and makes rest counting needlessly tiring.

    Also, whole bar rests shown in parts where an anacrusis rest should be is all too frequent.

    All of this boils down to lazy use of software.
  3. Mr_Chairman

    Mr_Chairman Member

    I fail to understand how, with modern software, that parts so often disagree with the score. Surely the parts are extracted from the score and as such it should be impossible for accidentals on the score to be missing on the parts.
  4. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    This is true but there are still a number of composers who still use pencil and paper to compose then send the score to the publishers who then notate it to software and publish it (quite clearly, if current standards are anything to go by, without a proof-reader within 100 miles!!!!!!!!!)
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Quite often, you end up with parts and score in agreement, but clearly incorrect together in their agreement.

    At least with older music you have a built-in double-check. Now you need to apply your musical judgement - dangerous stuff!
  6. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    All good points gentlemen - we could all go on and on and on. Last night (Thurs) the acid test occurred. The MD had received the list of errata and he stopped before each movement to read out the corrections. It took a huge chunk of our time, and the band isn't the most punctual band in the world. Two of the errors pointed out for my part were already correct. And guess what? When I came to the peculiar rhythmic notation mentioned in my original post I fluffed it again on the first run through, so I'm not complaining for the sake of it.
  7. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    This puzzles me, too, unless they amended both individually.

    I keep both the score and the extracted part open on screen. Editing the parts to achieve the visual standards I require is a good opportunity to notice errors.
    I click on the score to make the corrections there and then but the whole thing is still subjected to my quality control procedure.
  8. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    In Sibelius with 'Dynamic Parts' if you amend the score the part amends simultaneously and visa versa - so what's in the score is in the part. ;)

    Current topic of conversation is Alan Fernie's Three Spanish Impressions. Alan is one of those composers that still uses pencil and paper so the fault for the debacle surrounding this particular piece lies wholly with the publisher - who a) didn't take enough care in typesetting it b) didn't proofread it at all and c) didn't refer back to Alan for him to check it. I don't know what software Obrasso use but I can't recall the score being different to the parts - it's just the whole thing was a mess and they certainly need to take lessons in using it :mad::mad:
  9. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Good point
    and it shows the importance of 'discipline' at the computer. People can do a 'save as' of the score for various reasons so the potential for errors can still arise. As we all know, not all programs offer the dynamic thing. I'm used to proofing etc. in areas outside music and the need for a methodical approach can't be over-emphasized. In the print industry, nothing goes to the press until it has been read by a third party because it can cost thousands to put right. Spell-checkers can't spot all errors but that's off subject...
  10. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Re: my previous post. I was searching around for an example and lost my editing opportunity. (New to posting here.)

    When I referred to keeping both parts open I wasn't thinking merely of missing accidentals (etc.). Parts and scores will not necessarily correspond. Obviously, we must have consistency regarding codas and repeat bars etc., whether or not a particular part requires them but, as mentioned above, there's the need to split compressed rests, for example. One example is to show dynamics even where a player is silent. MD's might say 'pick it up at the ff after letter D'. It can also be useful to indicate a cresc. or dim. during rest bars as a means of setting the volume for an instrument entry. Things can hold together better that way.

    Cueing in parts where it helps a player to 'pick up the baton' can be useful. It can also help in rubato and varied velocity (speed not volume) passages which can easily fall apart, especially on once-only and under-rehearsed gigs. There will also be fewer errors due to mis-counting bars. Not that we ever do, do we?
  11. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    But not necessarily in newspapers. Only yesterday I saw a reference to to the Environment Agancy. In a headline. In The Times. Good grief!
  12. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    I can beat 'em all. My daughter produced a Welsh road sign which should have read 'Cycle Route'. What she produced read 'Cycling causes bladder problems'. The story reached the national press and TV.
  13. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    All I know about Alan Fernie is that he produces many enjoyable arrangements. The publishers sell the music and are responsible for quality, agreed.
  14. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Well, they're tomorrow's fish and chips paper.
  15. simonium

    simonium Member

    And are produced by many more people under an incredibly tight schedule, neither of which are problems brass band music publishers struggle with. An erroneous comparison I feel. My conductor has contacted Howard Lorriman about Cry Of The Mountain and the many mistakes and errors he has found, only to be told there are no issues in either score or parts. This is not so.

    I think most people have no problem with some mistakes, as long as they are rectified and clarified in good time, but for a piece to contain dozens (and I'm not saying this is the case with COTM) and the publisher or composer to be a) unaware b) indifferent or c) in denial is not acceptable.
  16. owain_s

    owain_s Member

    Regarding score/parts discrepancies, I've started to suspect that publishers make the corrections on their computer files, but fail to dispose of the pre-existing parts which still contain the problems.
  17. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    One man's mistake is often another man's 'interesting harmonic development'!
  18. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    If you use a decent notation program they will!!! Won't they?

    What are "compressed rests"?

    Really!!! I have never seen nor have written dynamics in bars rests! I don't understand why you would want/need to do this. Surely the dynamic written at entry is sufficient?

    Absolutely agree. I ALWAYS cue parts. It not only helps a player in following the music but, as you quite rightly say, helps in counting bars.

    If only composers/arrangers/publishers thought more about the reading and performance of the music, required by the individuals, then we wouldn't get so much rubbish put in front of us.
  19. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    For Matt: perhaps I didn't express myself properly - sorry about that. There are occasions where a composer will not wish the parts and score to correspond in order to render the visual layout of band parts to be more logical and easier to follow. The lack of this kind of effort is an annoying factor in so much published work.

    Compressed rests are individual rest bars in the score that are automatically combined into one in the parts (unless the program is instructed otherwise).

    I'm sorry to say I disagree with you regarding the (admittedly rare) need to place dynamics in rest bars (as a means of keeping everyone in the picture).

    (Aside: The matter would be simpler if dynamics were absolute but they are, as you must constantly be reminding Brighton and Hove, relative. The force required also varies according to the volume (space) of the auditorium (or pub). There are also times when, in order to make a crescendo more effective, a band will be asked to drop down a touch beforehand. The final result is king. There was an occasion at our last rehearsal where a player with an important part to play was inaudible because his dynamic was missing, so we can't necessarily rely on players' musical awareness.)

    Matt, Your final comment actually sums up my own approach and that's what this thread is all about.

    Thanks to all!
  20. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    There is absolutely no logic at all in marking dynamics in bars rest. Players do have ears, you know, even if sometimes they apparently fail to use them. What is the player going to do, count louder/softer?

    Almost as pointless as contrary dynamics, which seem to be becoming more prevalent, and are absolutely meaningless to the player, since he/she has no way of knowing if another part is marked at a different dynamic. Almost nothing else causes me more frustration and wastes more time in rehearsal. Well-trained and experienced players have an inate instinct to balance, and if player A is marked mp while player B is marked mf, all that happens is that player B starts to play up a bit, so player A notices this, and plays up a bit as well to match, because he doesn't know that player B is marked one degree higher. Complete waste of time. Relative balance within the band is the conductor's responsibility, and if a conductor can't tell from a score which parts need to be brought out relative to others without varying concurrent dynamics, then they shouldn't be doing the job.

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