• André Miranda

How to prepare for a studio recording session: correct notation

Tired of using VSTs and looking at using real instruments to give your compositions and even better sound, but not sure where to start? Well you’ve come to the right place!

Here at Musiversal we receive plenty of scores and while they’re all amazing, there are always small fixes that can make them even better! Writing and score preparation for an orchestra is extremely challenging to master, even if you have been doing it for a number of years!

We have put together a new series of articles to help you take your score writing to the next level!

Perhaps the absolute most crucial part of the whole recording process is ensuring your score is written and formatted correctly so it is sight-readable. This is extremely vital to make your score as easy to follow as possible for the conductor and the musicians. If they can’t follow your score then it will only be a waste of your time and money!

It is becoming more and more common for composers to create a composition using Virtual Instruments (VSTs) before importing the MIDI to music notation software. As amazing as this software is, it’s still far from perfect so there are bound to be some errors. Always double check the results! As you would do with any piece of writing, get someone else to proofread your work.

Everything should be clear to read for the musicians and easy to follow. Any instructions for the musicians and techniques should use the correct jargon and be written in plain English or with classic Italian musical terminology.

If there are multiple tempo changes in the piece then these must be included and clearly marked. Try to avoid having page turns in the middle of a phrase - more page turns are preferable to turns in inconvenient places. Certain parts may be very difficult or even impossible to play in a sight-reading situation.

Make sure you write melodic jumps that are realistic for a specific instrument and try to keep your orchestration as clean and uncomplicated as possible. Look up Beethoven or James Newton Howard for example. Use accents, staccato dots and dynamics so musicians have a clearer idea of how they should play during a sight-reading.

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