Orchestral Score Checklist

I see a lot of orchestral scores (assignments and homework, mostly) that are in fact incomplete.  So I thought I’d post a “to-do” list for notated scores.  You can use it as a checklist when notating orchestral scores on your own.

__ Title Page — typically includes title, composer, orchestrator (unless same as composer), and music publisher (if applicable).

__ Instrumentation Page — details the specific instruments necessary to perform the piece.  Includes the number of instrumentalists for woodwinds, brass and percussion.  In the percussion, include both the specific instruments required and the number of players necessary to play them.  In addition, indicate if the score is transposed or in C.  It’s also common to put the piece’s duration on the Instrumentation Page.

__ Be sure to use proper staff layout, staff names and clefs.

__ Add a tempo indication, including a metronome marking and text description (such as Adagio or Presto).

__ Enter all the notes.  Admittedly, this part is rarely forgotten.

__ Enter dynamics for each and every staff.  Include a dynamic marking at each musical entrance.  Include dynamic markings at both the beginning and end of hairpin crescendos/diminuendos.

__ Add slurs to indicate tonguing in the woodwinds and brass.

__ Add slurs to indicate bowing in the strings.

__ Add any additional articulations such as staccato, tenuto, accents, etc.

__ Add any text necessary for the string parts, such as divisi/unison, pizz/arco indications.

__ Add common brass/woodwinds text, such as “1.” and “a2″, mutes, etc.

__ Mark all instrument names on percussion staves.

__ Place rehearsal letters at key structural points in the music.

__ Add text descriptions of the desired emotion, such as lyrical, beautiful, ominous, and so on. These are typically placed at important rehearsal letters and communicate to the conductor what you want the music to convey emotionally.

__ If using timpani, include initial tunings of the drums and notate when the drums must be retuned.

__ If using harp, include pedal markings when necessary to clarify pedal positions.

__ Starting on page 2, hide any empty staves. On page 1, show all staves to reinforce instrumentation. Starting on page 2, only show staves that have notes on them.

Hope this helps…