Writing music is one thing. Presenting it well is an entirely different thing. I’ve been revising my score and part layouts for more then five years, and I somehow doubt I’ll ever stop. I have a standard template which I adjust for whatever instrument group I happen to be writing for, and every time I adjust it I think I’ve covered everything, but somehow I always find something new which isn’t quite right!
This probably sounds a little boring, but engraving music; that is editing and preparing music for publication actually requires more time for me then the writing of the music itself. This morning I’ve spent two hours editing parts and the accompanying score to make them look more legible and professional, and to facilitate page turns, and make sure nothing bumps into each other but that the music spacing isn’t stretched in a ridiculous manner but isn’t too squished either. I actually have a list (I’m a list kind of a person) which I follow to make sure all the text portions of my publications are exactly the same, and I have standard spacing arrangements in place for staves and systems, but every piece is still different. This one was a little trickier because it’s longer then my usual arrangements, so I had to find decent places for page turns. The Violin 1 part is 5 pages long! That’s 2 page turns, no matter how you try to edit it, and it also happens to be Mozart, so the first violin doesn’t ever really stop playing enough for there to be a good spot for a page turn. I did however manage to find a few semi-decent spots, so I’ve finished it up, wrapped it all up in a paper package and tied the bow. (Not really, but I did export the PDFs which means it’s done.)
In reality I’ll probably revisit it in a few years time and redo the engraving, because I’ll continue to develop as a musician and gather more skills and experience and then become unhappy with what I’ve done previously, the same way I’m not happy with how I edited music last year. (Already! Could I give myself a break?) But for now, I’m quite satisfied with how the engraving turned out, so if you’d like to see my latest efforts you can have a look at the link below.
By the way, the piece is Mozart’s Rondo in Bb for Solo Violin and Orchestra, which I’ve re-orchestrated as String Orchestra, but re-orchestration in the correct style is a whole other kettle of fish which I’m not opening right now!