I hereby ‘present’…

‘Presentation’ was the first part of my final push towards the end of this project following my tutors final formative feedback. To keep to schedule, I needed to theme out my work and be extremely methodical, and for ‘presentation’ I have covered the following areas, all outlined by my tutor:

  • Instrument numbers at the start of the score: I took these out but kept those next to the string players.
  • Percussion reduction: as you will have read from the more detailed blog post, this was reduced from 7 players to 4.
  • Dynamic markings were turned bold and I also went through and made sure each were aligned neatly beneath each individual line and centrally between the harp and piano staves.
  • Slurs, whole bar rests, ties, etc, were all checked and double checked. Many slurs were running over rests and notes instead of between notes, which obviously wasn’t right. There were a few whole bar rests that were not positioned correctly; these were off-set, which occurs when you delete something from the bar leaving it empty). My tutor reminded me that I had lots of the same pitched notes phrased together instead of being tied (I wrote a specific blog post when I realised what I had done).  After getting over the stupidity factor, this was easy – if not laborious – to correct.
  • All grace notes in every part where they appeared had a little slur added. I had totally forgotten to do this when I wrote them in originally.
  • I added a lot more phrasing and articulation to the woodwind parts. This consisted not only of more phrasing but also some drop slurs, together with additional staccato and tenuto markings. All of these additions have helped to give these lines much more shape and I’m grateful to Carla for reminding me that they were needed.
  • I determined which chords within the strings section I wanted to be double stopped and which I wanted to divide, the latter being notated with ‘divisi’ – I also remembered to make sure that once the divided sections were determined, I notated ‘a2’ at the next phrase in all relevant parts to show when I didn’t want them divided.
  • I also had ‘more performance directions’ and ‘hide empty staves’ within my presentation section, but as I have now discovered, these will be easier to sort out when I move on to the ‘Composition’ part of my ‘polishing’ work.
  • I have also gone through and made sure that I established font style and sizing conventions for the programme text (which is now bigger and italicised), the dynamic wording (cresc/dim). I wanted everything to be the same throughout.
  • Dynamics – where I had very long (more than 3-4 bars in length) crescendos or diminuendos, I have ‘hidden’ the hairpins to ensure that Sibelius still plays them, and instead replaced them visually with the relevant abbreviation and dashed lines to stretch out instead of the hairpins. It made the score look less crowded and was actually the more correct convention anyway.
  • Dynamics – I made sure EVERY percussion entry had a dynamic mark. All dynamics will be reviewed again once all final compositional elements have been completed.

It feels like I’ve been doing a lot more than this over the past 3 weeks now that I’ve written this post; I had only originally earmarked 2 weeks for the presentation/editing work to be honest. I had not appreciated just how challenging the re-working of the percussion section would be.

Each area noted above has taken a lot of detailed scrutinising. I lack patience with this kind of close editing work; I don’t enjoy it and find myself getting thoroughly impatient and fed up but equally I know how important the presentation of my score is for my final mark and I don’t want to jeopardise this unnecessarily.  I will go back over everything again once the composing is completed.

Gould, E (2011). Behind Bars. London: Faber Music. Whole book.


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