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Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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4.1 Score order

Figure 1

The order of instruments as they appear in the score is always the same, with woodwind instruments at the top of the page in order from high to low, then the brass. The instruments are identified, usually in Italian (as in this example), German or French. You may not be familiar with all the names of the instruments, especially the more exotic ones, but don’t worry about this, so long as you get the idea of the blocks of different types of sound.

In the example in Figure 1, the woodwind are marked in yellow and the brass are marked in green. The strings, marked in red, are at the bottom in order from high to low. Sandwiched between the brass and strings are the percussion instruments and harp. You can see how this layout relates to the way an orchestra is usually seated in Figure 2.

Figure 2