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  • Is bass trombone assumed or called for

    When you have 3 trombones in a score, is the third trombone a bass trombone or a tenor? Are bass trombones specifically called for in the score when desired?

    Thanks,
    Jay

  • You should mark bass trombone in the score if you want one. At the same time you could safely assume with three bones there will be a bass in there. If you don't mark it, the fact that it is on its own staff below the two upper parts and playing in the bass register will show the classic bass and two tenor relationship. Also consider that the instrumentation of any score is listed in the first pages prior to any notation.

    Clarity in the score is paramount as there are too many little things that can add up as question marks if not shown. Mahler who was a great conductor as well as composer has perhaps the most detailed scores of them all knowing full well how easily things can be misinterpreted.

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    @dpcon said:

    Clarity in the score is paramount as there are too many little things that can add up as question marks if not shown. Mahler who was a great conductor as well as composer has perhaps the most detailed scores of them all knowing full well how easily things can be misinterpreted.


    Absolutely. Dynamics are a big issue as well. I have the score for Michael Tippett's Triple Concerto, which uses a clever technique of marking dynamics with both standard dynamic markings *and* relative, or 'subjective', dynamics, indicating which instruments or groups are supported, or balanced. As an example, he has a passage with clarinets and harp, in which the the harp is marked "f" and the clarinets are marked "p (gently, sustaining Hp. f)". Maybe too much detail for some, but from my experiences of the rehearsal process I can really see the benefit. I used a technique like this a few months ago, and the dynamics realized, even in the first rehearsal, were *much* closer to what I'd intended. It also serves to elminate questions around relative and absolute dynamics, as everyone (conductor and player) can see quite clearly what's intended in the orchestration, and even has a chance to form an aural image of the desired sound before the passage is performed. Simple, but quite clever, I think. I'm not wild about all of his (Tippett's) music, but some of it is really quite remarkable.

    J.

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    @jbm said:

    ...I think. I'm not wild about all of his (Tippett's) music, but some of it is really quite remarkable.

    J.


    Like the Concerto for Orchestra which should be high on Jay's list of virtual scores to do.

  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on