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Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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3.1 Working collaboratively with a score

In the following video, the performers discuss how they use a score to work together as they rehearse and create a performance. Each player will have a slightly different view of the music, as they will generally only see the line of music that they play as an individual. This notation for a particular player is often called a ‘part’.

If the music is for a single instrument with piano, such as a violin sonata or a song, the pianist will usually play from music that includes the instrumental or vocal line as well as the piano part, and can often act as a coordinator because they can see the music for both instruments. Here, pianist Jeremy Young explains how although each player only sees their own part, they also work with a score to collaboratively create their performance.

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For any music that has a number of players such as a string quartet or jazz band, a full score is a means of representing all the parts together so that they can be understood in relation to each other. Each instrument has its own line, but the lines that sound simultaneously are joined by a brace and are aligned vertically to indicate their synchronicity. The written music now has two functions:

  1. the parts, which present each individual player with the single line of notation for their specific instrument
  2. the score, which represents the full sound picture of the piece.