V.com weekend vote: When learning or studying a concerto, what score do you use?

November 13, 2022, 9:52 PM · Knowing the whole score of a piece - it's not just a job for the conductor!

When you are playing a solo piece, it helps greatly to know what is happening in the piano part, or in the orchestra part.

Beethoven Violin concerto scores

Of course, I can't say that I grew up studying scores, I simply did not. When I learned a piece, I always learned it from the violin part, without really looking at the piano or orchestra part. That's not to say I knew nothing of those parts - I always listened to recordings, and that does give one an awareness. But certainly, knowing the full score gives one a fuller awareness!

The good news is that it's never been easier to find scores (on the Internet!) or to be able to read your part from a score. Reading from an orchestra part requires a ton of page turns, and even reading from a piano score requires a lot more turns than simply reading from the violin part. But if you have an iPad and a pedal page-turner, suddenly the idea of reading from a score becomes much more do-able.

I learned this when I spoke last year to the Viano String Quartet - they they often read from the entire quartet score, so they could see each other's parts in real time, as they performed. And what made it possible was the fact that they all read from iPads. That way, for starters, they weren't all trying to read from one score, as the music would not come with four score parts! So all four of them could download the score to their iPads, and then they could easily handle the page turns with the pedals.

A whole new world!

Of course, it is not at all necessary to have an iPad, to read and study the full score of a concerto, quartet or any other piece! You simply need to get the score, and in fact, you can often get "mini scores" or "pocket scores" for concertos that are a little smaller than a normal-size sheet music and are meant for reference. (For example, all the Mozart concerti).

Now, if you have never even thought of looking at a score when learning a concerto or chamber piece, please don't feel bad! I'm mostly doing this vote to explore the idea of using the score, to get people thinking about it, and to explore the ways technology makes it all more do-able.

What is your experience with reading scores? Is it something you do regularly, or do you pretty much learn from your own individual part? Do you ever use a score for reference? Would you consider reading from a score, if you had the right set up? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts and experiences!

Many thanks to Eugene Watanabe for the idea for this week's vote. If you have an idea for the Weekend Vote, please e-mail me. I welcome your ideas!

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Replies

November 14, 2022 at 05:08 AM · Dover does inexpensive reprints of the now public domain published scholarly collected works from the 19th century. The solo lines in complete scores, and the cue line in the piano scores, are not contaminated by editors, eccentric soloists, or performance tradition, and you can make your own fresh decisions.

That fourth choice,-learning from recordings is not so strange as some would presume. Singers do it all the time. Pavarotti learned his opera roles from recordings and his coaches. As a Mariachi fiddler recordings are my primary source. The sheet music is either not available, too expensive, in the wrong key, or defective.

November 14, 2022 at 06:08 AM · Full orchestra if I can get it on IMSLP or at low cost. I study the score when preparing orchestral music as well.

I'm pretty comfortable reading scores, including transposing instruments. My musical training is mainly as a pianist and composer, and I've composed and arranged music for orchestra.

November 14, 2022 at 02:10 PM · I do play by ear, I've always been commended of that, but learning a piece I prefer looking over what I'm going to play. At times I'll watch YouTube videos of accomplished musicians to glean methods and techniques.

November 14, 2022 at 03:38 PM · I always look on IMSLP to see if I can find something scribbled frantically by the composer himself or herself that's totally illegible.

November 14, 2022 at 05:22 PM · I have not studied a concerto in 40 years or more. When I was given concerti by my teacher I always consulted the piano score that was (still is!) conveniently sold along with the violin part. Orchestra scores are time consuming for me to read; also they would have cost me more money which I had limited quantities of back then. Nowadays I play almost only chamber music. And I find studying scores very helpful when preparing for rehearsals.*

On the other hand: Studying scores belongs in the preparation phase. Ensemble score reading--even with tablets--adds work (page turns every few seconds, no matter how easy, are detracting!) plus an extra mental effort is required to make sure one plays one's own line in the score. Chamber music playing is already a very demanding sort of multi-tasking; added tasks, even trivial ones are bound to cause difficulties. I suspect this trick is more for show then for serious work--everybody tries to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

* There are opposing opinions around: I remember reading an article about quartet playing that argued vigorously that only the parts should be used to prepare a performance. Using a score was for beginners who did not hear what was going on while they played their part! It was written by a renowned quartet player but I have forgotten his name.

November 15, 2022 at 09:35 PM · As from ~ Elisabeth Matesky, usually Full Score & Piano Reduction Violin/Piano Score Addict! {#6}

One of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Pianists, Madame Rhosinna Levhinne, Master Mentor of Piano at Juilliard's School of Music, forever adhered to her Mantra: 'Exhaust the Printed Page!' Madame Levhinne, of International Renown, was also overloaded by not only those aspiring to Concert Pianism and glory, but numerous other Instrumentalists & Singer's wshing to study with a Grand Artist and Lady of The Piano!!

One can never blend nor effectively Sound-Converse minus any true knowledge & inner aural awareness of the entire work of Music one is learning or preparing for major performance and whether it be for International Competition, the Twenty First Century 'Gateway' to an Opened Door for all Conductor's of consequence to hear young yet to be known soloists or for Debut Performance in major Musical Capital Cities of the U.K., aka, London; Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and the United States of America, and especially New York City; Los Angeles and Chicago! Lately, Canada is certainly on The Debut List of String & Piano young Recitalists as well, aka, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal & the Western most City of Vancouver!

From one's own concertising veteran violin soloist career, it is unimaginable to think of only learning and studying a Violin Concerto from just the Violin Solo Part!! How could anyone communicate in any language if only knowing the basics of a Yes, No, Thank You and Good Bye in a foreign country always speaking its own native tongue minus any English if American born minus any French, Welsh, Scottish, Spanish or German, etc?? And if planning to Live in a foreign speaking country as a full time or even part time 24/7 resident!!??

Madame Lvhinne's Mantra reigns supreme to this day on 15th November 2022, without question & in the case of Mariachi, one does lean on Joel Quivey's RX and his way of orientation, yet he is already a Veteran of violin performance in the purest 'classical' realm with much experience under his belt and I do sense has had a strong musical foundation re learning concert violin & orchestral string parts repertoire which gives him an overview from which to gauge How specific Mariachi pieces and folklore of such Go and should sound stylistically!!

When growing up as a small child under the watchful eyes of my acclaimed music educator father, violin 'apostle' of his own Juilliard mentor, an original Ysaye pupil, Eduoard Dethier, plus Mishel Piastro, my exposure to Piano Reduction Scores truly began early with Mother, Arnold Schoenberg's chosen Pianist

for All Schoenberg UCLA Advanced Classes performing 3 times weekly & Impromptu, when Prof Schoenberg would often lecture his gifted pupil composers, {i.e., US Earl Kim, Peabody Award winner after studies with Schoenberg; and Leon Kirschner, Pulitzer Prize winner in Composition, later following his advanced Composition studies w/Schoenberg, with both close 'tight' friends of my Harmony & 'Savant' for Transposition Mother,} & who taught all basic's of rudimentary aspects of works for violin & orchestra plus violin with piano sonatas plus orchestral theory visa vie those grand Orchestral Masterworks reduced to Piano Reduction scores as a young child and on Up!! I truly believe knowing The Whole grants a respect for the Sum of All Parts whether it be a purely logical mathematical equation or a Symphony by Jean Sibelius & his Violin Concerto, etc.!!!

Yes, there are online accessible Scores but last time I 'heard' a performance seeing an iPad on the Piano Stand of a Steinway by no less than in Carnegie Hall by Yuja Wang, eyeing her little

piece of ingenious technology in lieu of a piano part, I was duly shocked and admit angered by her seeming lack of respect for the Composer {in this case Beethoven}; the Audience having paid monumental prices for Concert Tickets, and for her own projection to young pianists & Piano aficionados attending her Yuja Wang in Recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City, & being Live filmed!! Oh Please, and to top it off a refined friend providing the Link to view/hear this mentioning the iPad said: 'Well, I don't much care about it but this is How Yuja does it and it works!' "Holy Cow"! - I thought in my own self thoughts!! "Mr's Heifetz and Milstein would have my head on a chopping block such would be their ire and outraged embarrassment re a trusted Artist Pupil detouring & playing a work via memory in favour of an iPad set on a Music Stand in Carnegie Hall in The New York City!!??? No Way!!!"

Just Because ... and this example illustrates the to me truly downward spiral of Concert Artist pure-from-the-heart public performance with perfect memory of any given composition {w/exception of a Far Out World Premiere & music equivalent of Andy Warhole's 'Can of Tomato Soup' or of Marilyn Monroe} at this time with unknown to musicians chicken tracks in original score markings!, I say Forget All of it which is a current 'trend', aka, Excuse for genuine Artistry borne out of Years {not weeks or a month} in Communion with Great Works of Classic Music Composition which have been handed down since their birth fathers/mothers allowed audiences to hear and hopefully savor Emotions in Sound to gift all Souls Hope and Inspiration in this Life and for an always hoped for better future ~

Thank you, Laurie, for offering this Subject to many Members and providing a platform for a V.com Musicians Town Square of Campaign's!! I hereby Rest My Case ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Elisabeth Matesky ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ref: Bio on Violinist.com Performer/Teacher Chicago, IL USA

Spying Article in the Strad, view my EM Reply under my Strad Profile in November Strad Issue 'Have your say': 'Memory of Music in & for Public Performance?' 'Centipede Story!' EM Answer

Fwd ~ dmg

November 15, 2022 at 11:35 PM · I'm not a soloist, but I feel that the basic principles we're discussing apply whether you're soloing in a concerto, playing in an ensemble, or buried deep in an orchestra. My preferred technique is to listen to a recording (not necessarily on YouTube - I might have a CD handy), and follow along with the score for my part. The recording gives me the sense of the piece, while my score fills in the details. In case of doubt (e.g. an intricate chord structure) I might go to the conductor's score. Even for an orchestral part, after enough studying I'll have enough of it memorized that I can use the score to keep me straight on the more complicated parts. Once I know what the other players are doing, I can practise from the score and hear enough other parts in my head to keep it together - this allow me to practise effectively even if I'm in the middle of nowhere with no way to play the recording.

November 16, 2022 at 05:54 AM · @ Charlie Gibbs ~ {#8}

Not trying to be intrusive, I thought your Reply regarding your sort of fell into Violin via Viola, most interesting and positive about your own 'formulae' of learning an orchestral violin part or any work you

enjoy playing ... Whatever works, is What you Use! It sounds as though you have a good basic grounded Musical foundation via having studied Theory, and employing the CD recording/s of given

pieces you like and wish to or have commitment's to learn & play in an orchestra which is always an Award for having done one's best after some honest 'homework' on the fiddle or any instrument and in knowing you tried your best! This is the Reward for genuine honourable work well done and not judged by anyone but yourself!

I wish you and your friends much enjoyment and throughout this Holiday Season playing/reading new pieces of Music and possibly a Messiah or Two during Christmas Holidays and in a Church Sanctuary setting with an inspired Choir and Choral Orchestra Conductor!

~ With Holiday Music Greetings ~

........ Elisabeth Matesky ........

Fwd ~ dmg posting 15th November, 2022 PM

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