What piece of music is the hardest to read?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by lilRobB, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. lilRobB

    lilRobB New Member

    i find that the first/solo cornet part in Padstow is hard to read , due to the 2 parts written on top of each other.

    im just wondering whether other people agree (or if it's just me being weird) and if so what other such pieces there are.

  2. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    anything handwritten on manuscript I usually find awkward.

    The flugel/rep part to Force of Destiny (2nd page) is impossible to decipher who plays what note if sight reading
  3. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Ditto the Rep/Flugel part for The Mastersingers!
  4. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    I'm sure anyone that plays in either musicals or swing bands will tell you how lucky we are! I played in the pajama game last year. Both trumpet parts were on one part, one stave above the other (which means far to many page turns!) the key signatures were only printed at the top of the page and at key changes, and when you're often in 5,6 or 7 sharps, it's a big issue! And leger lines...well mine weren't to bad but the wind parts....the leger lines are so badly spaced they had to write the notes in because they were out of proportion, in one part, a top C was actually positioned higher above the stave than an F! (I think?) which is very confusing! Didn't help that the band parts were in a different key to the piano/vocal parts in some of the numbers either! Not the only musical I've come across some of these problems either!

    A lot of swing band parts I've played only print key sigs at the top and at key changes too, can be difficult to figure out whether a note is on a line or in a space as well. Can be quite confusing, especially if you're sight-reading on the gig!
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008
  5. omega56

    omega56 Member

    I have recently moved to front row after playing rep for a number of years and still find it difficult to read the split parts although the melody on one of the parts is quite often the same as the rep part....life would be so much easier if it was left....uncluttered
  6. catherine_S

    catherine_S Member

    Euph parts for Colonel Bogey are horrible - bad enough on the stand - wellnigh impossible on the march!
  7. andyh

    andyh Supporting Member

    I find some older parts are difficult if they've been hand-written as opposed to typeset. I'm talking about proper band-sets here, not music that has been obviously re-written out by someone.

    The Rep/Flugel part for "Thomas the Tank Engine" is a classic example, written in a very eccentric hand with two parts on one page. I had to go over mine with black pen just to connect the vertical lines to their notes...


  8. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    Songs for BL by Howarth....pain in the backside!
  9. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Any of Howard Snell's "manuscript" prints. His handwriting would've made my English and Music teacher blow a gasket! His arrangement of Russlain and Ludmilla springs to mind where on the flugel part, after a quick turnover there are about 3 bars of the next page printed on the extreme right hand side of the page before the next full line. It took me a couple of times of honking out wrong 'uns like a Canada Goose to figure out what was wrong! Thankfully he seems to be re-doing his early stuff. In their original form, they're great arrangements, but rubbish parts!

    There are several pieces printed in the mid-60's where the flugel was starting to be a more independent part from the rep but the two parts were still printed on the same copy. Belmont Variations and Le Roi D'ys are pretty good examples. Two totally separate parts that often cross written in the same stave. Not easy to read.

    One of my pet hates though is when syncopated rhythms are not written "grammatically" correctly. That is if a crotchet note goes over the beat then it should be written as two quavers tied. For trickier rhythms written like this I find it unnecessarily difficult to figure out just where the beats fall.
  10. Matt Lawson

    Matt Lawson Member

    The solo cornet part for Nightmare from "Cry of the Celts" isn't brilliant.

    Can't tell which beat goes where with all the septuplet runs flying about everywhere.

    Looks like someone squashed a particularly gangly spider on the music and mashed it's legs all over the stave - before writing a neat '7' above them.
  11. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Connotations - AAAARGH

    - and, come to think of it, almost any rep/flug part that splits, even older stuff like William Tell...

    but Connotations is a bar steward... just ask Chris (on rep) :rolleyes:
  12. SopranoGod

    SopranoGod Member

    All the hymn tunes from the tune book of the salvation army... the small solo cornet ones.

    it's a nightmare especialy when you need new glasses
  13. millie6589

    millie6589 Member

    The solo horn part for Circus Suite! not sure what it is about it but i find it really hard to read. could be due to the fact that it is on 4 pages but 2 of them are handwritten and stuck back-to-front, upside down, inside out and the wrong way around......
  14. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    The 12 Days of Christmas in the Salvation Army Green Carol Book. Absolutely Bonkers! My brain isn't geared up for deciphering it. It's like a weird maze, start here, repeat there but not on the 12th time, collect £200 as you pass go, (I wish), go to the coda when a goose flies in a clockwise motion, ok so I made up the last couple of bits.
  15. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member


    Our set of Essence of Time is in particularly small print and a bit blurry so thats my excuse anyway...
  16. JR

    JR Member


    The divided solo cornet part (and score) to The Moor of Venice - the fast bit as opposed to the turgid, dreary other bits.

    john r
  17. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Definitely. Middleton's the only band I've played with that can actually do it, and even then there have been a few hairy moments; especially when there's standing up involved ;)
  18. catherine_S

    catherine_S Member

    You make me feel a lot better, I thought that it was just our band that couldn't cope with it!! :oops: We always dread people asking for it to be played in Christmas concerts - and they always do!!!:frown:
  19. Tazzer

    Tazzer New Member

    The solo cornet part to Isaiah 40 pickles my brain - Its really hard to read. Most modern test pieces have split 12 + 34 parts which makes much more sense.

    I also have trouble with the slow bit in Galeforce.
  20. Mephi

    Mephi Member

    Must admit to the 'Kerwinootle 12 Days' hate thingy! Just plain daft when top section players have to turn round and say 'not doin that one' - just simply too much work for a flamin carol!! Isaiah 40 - played it 12 years ago, had a look at solo cornet part last night, still confused, Paganini was fuddled, especially when conductor starts 'interlacing parts' (best advice - learn every note!) and the worst of all during my tour of test pieces/major works - Wilfred Heaton's 'Partita' - manuscript parts with half bars crossing down to next line! As if it wasn't hard enough!! Then again I've an old manuscript copy of Life Divine with the repiano runs added and some bari ones as well! Now that did take some reading yesterday!!

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