Guidance please

I was chatting online to a friend last night who happens to be a fellow musician clued up when it comes to orchestral music. He recommended some guidelines that I should cast my eyes through as I start work on the second round of my presentation work on the score. Once again, serendipity struck; his recommendation couldn’t have come more perfectly timed.

‘Music Preparation Guidelines for Orchestral Music’ by the Major Orchestra Libraries Association (MOLA) – link below

Admittedly, I expected an informative yet slightly onerous, lengthy document to have to wade through; 8 pages later and I had read through the entire thing and only had a handful of new things brought to my attention. Perfect!

Of note were the following things that I feel I should remember:
* The score cover:
– must consist prominently the title of the work and the name of the composer (plus details of any arranger and publisher)

* The title page (second to the cover):
– must include a full instrumentation list which identifies any doubling, keys of transposing instruments, all percussion instruments and the total number of percussionists.
– must detail any special equipment, special instructions of ‘prepared instruments’ or other uncommon instruments, and any special staging instructions.
– must include the full title of the work, the movement titles in their proper order, the approximate duration for each movement and the total duration for the work (I need guidance on this; will ask my tutor)

* The music should:
– have the name of each instrument listed in full to the left of the system on the first page, with abbreviations listed on subsequent pages.
– all instructions for tempi and dynamics should be in conventional language (English, Italian, German or French).
– all tempo indications should appear above the top staff and above the 1st violin line.
– each bar should be numbered, beginning a new with each movement (I need guidance on this; will ask my tutor)
– the placement of bar numbers should be consistent throughout, with rehearsal numbers/letters corresponding to landmarks in the music and used in conjunction with bar numbers.
– the RH page numbers of the score must be odd, the LH even (I need guidance on this as I currently have the opposite; will ask my tutor)

* The parts:
– Clefs and key signatures must appear at the beginning of each line.
– Parts for transposing instruments must be written in the proper key (I need guidance on this; will ask my tutor)
Harp pedalling should be left to the performer
– Timpani part should not be included in the percussion part
– Percussion parts can be in score form or individual instrumental parts and should be notated on staff from high to low, according to relative pitch.
– Care should be taken with use of abbreviation 8va and 8va basso; avoid if possible.

All very valid and useful points to note and as indicated, there are a couple of areas that I want further advice from my tutor and as such, have raised with her for clarity. Hopefully, she can come back to me promptly so that I can continue progressing through this laborious phase in order that I can put this score ‘to bed’ and commence revision work on my Critical Review.

Unknown. (2006). Music Preperation Guidelines for Orchestral Music. Available: Last accessed 04/12/2016.


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