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Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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1.1.3 What should a musical score capture?

In the previous section, you were asked what elements of music should be captured in a score – you may have suggested what notes to play (pitch) and rhythm as two of the most important elements.

There are of course other things that may be captured by a score, such as how loud or quiet to play, the mood of the music, what instrument to play on or words for a singer to sing – we’ll come back to some of those in later weeks.

Quite a lot of today’s music is written down after it has been composed or created, so the sounds come first, and then a written version is created from them later – this is the usual way most pop musicians work. Of course, with modern technology, writing music down from existing sounds is much easier, but in early times when there was no way of recording sound, this was a big challenge. So, how do musicians define the elements of pitch and rhythm, and how have musical scores evolved to convey them?