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notation

Over-Notation Nation

Many people these days over-notate their music. I propose three theories for this. The first is that most people do not spend a lot of time working with a live orchestra so they do not have a lot of 'match practice'. When they do get their time with the players, they want to make sure they have everything spelled out, and so they often overdo it. Thinking they are doing the right thing, they clarify things that do not need clarifying and state things that…
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The Orchestral Default

In order to notate in a clear and concise manner, one has to understand how an orchestra will interpret any particular dynamic, rhythm or articulation. For instance, what happens if you give the violins a naked whole note and a piano dynamic marking? Even with a minimum of information, the orchestra will impart some life to that note; there is an organic trajectory to all phrases. Now what if you add an articulation or hairpins? How about at shorter rhythms? What will a pattern of…
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