Sunday, March 12, 2006

73 Bars Rest?

Ever experienced frustration when reading a part for a work that neglected to contain important cues? You're not alone. From a discussion thread initiated by Frank Oteri on NewMusicBox:

With the exception of parts for accompanying pianists in chamber music—which thankfully contain everyone else's part, too—parts for almost all classical music repertory only contain the notes for that particular individual to play. It is a foolish tradition that lives on in most contemporary music.

One of the finest examples of a properly cued work is Maurice Ravel's Chansons mad├ęcasses. Both the flute and violoncello parts include the vocal line, without which this difficult group of songs would be impossible to perform. Kudos for the obsessive compulsive Ravel for realizing what needed to be put in the parts in order for performers to navigate the work as efficiently as possible. I've noticed that a few composers are beginning to write additional cues in parts after they are generated from programs such as Finale and Sibelius. So much time can be saved in rehearsal with concise and informative parts...

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