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Score Study and Marking of Score

Score study is the foundation for internalizing the music, as well as developing musical vision and
interpretation. Gesture, communication and music making are determined by this deep level of
musical understanding. Marking the score focuses the conductors attention to the detail contained
within any given work and provides a visual roadmap, which is the foundation for the rehearsal
process and ultimately, the performance.

1. Structural/Harmonic Analysis, Phrasing & Text: Green and Lead Pencil


Sing or play through the entire score. Note internal phrase groupings in lead pencil and larger
structural junctures with a straight green line at the bar line. Note larger form at top of score in lead
pencil and each structural group internally in green [i.e. ABA].

Analyze piece in terms of phrase groupings and notate in lead pencil below staff at beginning of
each larger phrase [i.e. (2 x 2) + 4].

Play through the piece again and note overall harmonic movement below the barline in lead pencil
[key area, major modulations, cadential points, chordal analysis, etc], as well as shifts in meter,
tempo, rhythm, texture, etc.

Create a structural graph, which includes all of the information noted in the points above.

Sing each individual line and mark breathing in lead pencil denoting release of vowel or consonant
using exact rhythmic values. In addition, circle difficulties in each line descending intervals,
chromaticism, dissonance, suspensions, challenging rhythms, voice crossing, etc.

If the piece is in a different language, write word-for-word translation in lead pencil below the
staff and notate pronunciation issues internally or above the staff.

Study/adjust printed metronome markings and/or create metronome markings based on form,
character, musical movement, execution of fastest musical gesture, etc.

2. Internal Organization: Red Pencil


Scan piece and mark meter shifts above the bar line in large number.

Mark vocal entrances, cues, divisi or voice leading. In contrapuntal music or more complex
scores, identify vocal part or instrument by name [i.e. A2 or Trmb]. In orchestral scores, consider
using alternate color for horns [as transposing instruments] and percussion [varying instrumentation]

3. Interpretation: Blue Pencil


Mark or rewrite printed dynamics, articulation, and tempo shifts.

Sing through each line; add personal interpretative markings of dynamics, articulation or tempo.

4. Special Annotations: Yellow Highlighter


Highlight special score notations relating to character, tempo, voicing, etc.
Timothy Sharp: Precision Conducting
Seven Disciplines for Excellence in Conducting

Charting the Full Score


1. Reduction of important sectional components of full score
2. Overview to include movement, text source, instrumentation, voicing, key, tempo,
meter, form, etc.

Charting a Single Movement


1. Detailed analysis of all individual units/phrases with three major components:
Indication of group of measures that form a unit of study
Analytical facts about the music found in the study unit
Rehearsal considerations dictated by the fact found in the unit
2. Each unit suggests a description related to melody, harmony, timbre, texture form,
interpretation, text, etc.
3. Include critical information related to deep-structure knowledge of music [i.e.
tempo, meter, key, expression, etc]
4. Comments should guide conductors rehearsal

James Jordan: Evoking Sound

Preparing the Score


1. Hum or moan through the piece
2. Play and sing all parts
3. Reinforce Alexander-based alignment and thoughts
4. Mark the score
5. Conduct while humming through the score
6. Study and experience the breath of the piece carefully
7. Conduct the piece while inhaling and exhaling constantly
8. Breath the color of the style and affect of the piece
9. Study and experience the breath process that connects phrases

Preparing the Tonal Materials of the Music: Anticipating Vocal Problems


1. Maintaining posture for the correct singing
2. Diaphragm activity for diction, articulation and rhythm
3. Breathing [exhalation, inhalation and support]
4. Appropriate resonance for the style of the music
5. Five pure vowels without diphthongs, to maintain pitch and tone color
6. Finding head voice [yawn-sigh to maintain proper tone color]
7. Range extension and register consistency as required by piece
8. Flexibility [runs]
9. Resonance and placement [to execute a specific style]
10. Rhythmic style
11. Articulation: martellato, staccato, legato
12. Dynamics: crescendo and decrescendo
13. Accents
14. Execution of leaps
15. Vowel Modification