Looking through parts

A quick way to notices mistakes is by looking through each individual part. When I first started writing for orchestra (and voices) I wrote everything by hand. It was amazing when software extracted parts for me automatically. And even more amazing when the software made them dynamically, and if I made a change in the part, it automatically got changed in the score.

I start with flute 1. A little after rehearsal E, I see a missing dynamic. I go to the score, because if it’s missing in this part, it’s likely missing in other parts as well. I look at the section, and it appears I only missed to give the flutes a dynamic. I look at flute 2, and I’m wondering if the fortissimo continues after the four measure rest. It does. But then I see that the oboes were supposed to get to participate in the last couple of measures, and I had to forgotten to add them in. Actually, I wanted all the musicians in the orchestra to play the last couple of measures, in pianissimo, so I write in the horns and the trombones as well. It will be an interesting pianissimo, but I think it has its place.

Oboe 1. There is one suspicious omission of dynamics, but it’s a short rest, and I just add in the word “solo” in two places to help her or him know that it’s kind of exposed. I proceed to add in the same word for the clarinets and the tuba in their respective exposed parts. I’m looking over the clarinet part. I see what looks like a solo in the high register in mezzopiano, and I’m wondering if I’m serious about that dynamic. I go to the section, and see that for some reason, the second oboe cuts off before the other woodwinds. Why? No good reason, so I extend that note two beats. I experiment with extending the chord two more beats, but then the delicate clarinet gets kind of drowned out, so I undo that. I notice that I forgot to add in a slur at one point. Clarinet 2 gets added in several measures after the first, and I had forgotten to give them a fortissimo. I notice a similar problem in the second bassoon part.

I get to the second trombone part. I’m wondering if they’ll be frustrated that I didn’t give them more notes. I will listen through the piece and see if it looks like it’s missing a second trombone anywhere. I find this one part where a lot of the brass is playing, and I double the cello line in the second trombone, and add in a tuba octave doubling to the fourth horn. Listening in to check that they don’t drown out the bassoons. Adding in a doubling of the bassoon to the second trombone for that one gesture that seemed kind of lost once the tuba came in. Seeing as the notes are the same as the timpani has tuned to, I add in a doubling on the timpani.

I add in some more doublings in the ending part. The low brass is needed there. I add in a Glockenspiel doubling as well. It should pop now. I look back at the trombone parts now, and they look better.

Moving on to percussion. The timpani will have to retune two of the timpani one step or a half step, twice in the piece. They have plenty of time, so I hope they can do it. The percussion parts look ok. I see that the marimba might wonder at what dynamic level to start their diminuendo and add in a forte.

It’s time to look at string parts. The first violin has four pages of music. I’m looking at the bowings, and it’s pretty much what I had in mind. I guess I’ve looked at this part a lot in the score. I’m looking at the second violin part. One small section looks like I neglected to add in phrasing, and when I go to the score, it’s also missing for the viola part, and I fix it.

I look at the viola part, and for some reason, the missing phrase markings are more glaring here. I go to the score, and fix it for violins, viola, and cello all at once. There’s this suspicious part in the cello part, where no markings for phrasing or bowing are present. I go to the score, and I decide to change the notes just a little to better align with the rhythm right there. The phrasing follows.

Well, I think I must have given the contrabass part a lot of attention before, because it’s looking deliberate throughout.

Breaking for lunch.

I come back to it. I add in a cover page. I’m wondering what kind of subtitle to give it, I’m coming up blank so far. I look at the opening gesture, and decide to give the first trombone part to the second trombone part, and give the first a new part, a little higher, closer to the oboe’s melody. I decide to divide the violas in this one part where there is a big gap between violins and violas, and I want to fill it in more.

I think it’s time to print it out and maybe show it to a musician friend.

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