New to engraving...am I on the right track?

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AsstGen2018
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 Aug 2018, 01:25

New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by AsstGen2018 » 15 Aug 2018, 01:47

Hello Everyone!

I'm new to this forum and new to engraving. I am a recently-appointed music director for an a cappella church choir. Long story short, the choir has learned its material mouth-to-ear, and never really used printed materials to preserve and teach their repertoire. Our budget is limited so we're not (yet) prepared to hire a professional engraver, though that could be an option down the road. So I have been tasked with notating their current library of nearly 400 hymns...quite a daunting task that will take years to complete, but I'm up for the challenge.

I was wondering if anyone interested could look at the attached score and see if I'm on the right track in presenting the four basic voices for my choir. As stated, I have a long road ahead of me so I wanted to start slow and get a good format first so that I won't have to go back and try to re-format later. I'm using still Finale 2014.5 for Mac (I didn't see the need to upgrade since I"m only scoring SATB in a close score format), Engraver music font, Minion Pro text font. Any feedback is appreciated, even to the smallest details...that's the only way I can get better.

THANK YOU!
Attachments
Beloved Now We Are the Sons of God - Close Score.pdf
(181.76 KiB) Downloaded 90 times
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benwiggy
Posts: 187
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by benwiggy » 15 Aug 2018, 07:18

One thing I would say: you can't get it all on one page, so why not use the second a bit more? Increase the distance between the two staves (which will give the different lyric lines room to breathe). Then you'll have four systems on page 1 and 3 on page 2. It would also mean not turning the page for the repeat.
Also, I'd make the bar numbers larger (or remove them).

Is it really in 4/4? There's so much syncopation that the usefulness of the beat seems compromised.

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John Ruggero
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Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by John Ruggero » 15 Aug 2018, 12:46

Welcome to the forum, AsstGen2018. I think you are doing a fine job, but do agree with benwiggy about the spacing unless there are other considerations that we are unaware of.

Suggestions:

1. It would be best practice to provide cautionary F naturals in m. 10.

2. The last bar on page two should end with a double barline, not a final barline. You probably have the document setting barlines> "final barline at end of piece" checked.

3. The Finale default for first and second ending brackets is seriously out-of-wack. There should be a gap between the two brackets. Take a look at some well-engraved published music.

This is definitely an improv, no easy thing to notate. I found some of the voice-leading pretty interesting!
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AsstGen2018
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 Aug 2018, 01:25

Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by AsstGen2018 » 16 Aug 2018, 23:41

benwiggy wrote:
15 Aug 2018, 07:18
One thing I would say: you can't get it all on one page, so why not use the second a bit more? Increase the distance between the two staves (which will give the different lyric lines room to breathe). Then you'll have four systems on page 1 and 3 on page 2. It would also mean not turning the page for the repeat.
Also, I'd make the bar numbers larger (or remove them).

Is it really in 4/4? There's so much syncopation that the usefulness of the beat seems compromised.
All points well taken! I'll definitely use more of the white space on the last page. I've been looking at different published hymnals and noticed how compact the measures and staves are. But, readibility is the #1 thing. I also made the measure numbers larger.

The song really is in 4/4 time! My choir, as you can see, is very comfortable with jazz and ragtime rhythms. Many of our compositions have a similar syncopation. This is the more reason why I should use all the remaining white space on the last page. Thanks again!
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Finale 2014.5.7098, JW Plugin, TG Tools
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Adobe Acrobat X

AsstGen2018
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 Aug 2018, 01:25

Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by AsstGen2018 » 16 Aug 2018, 23:47

Thanks John for your reply!
John Ruggero wrote:
15 Aug 2018, 12:46
Welcome to the forum, AsstGen2018. I think you are doing a fine job, but do agree with benwiggy about the spacing unless there are other considerations that we are unaware of.
My initial concern with spacing is that we have about 400 hymns and growing. The song I posted is actually one of our relatively shorter songs. We have other songs that span multiple movements and take 3-5 pages. Multiplied by 400 hymns and you can imagine the number of pages a hymnal would be. But I have played around with the spacing of the staves to use all of the white space on the last page (without adding a new page). Thanks.
John Ruggero wrote:
15 Aug 2018, 12:46
1. It would be best practice to provide cautionary F naturals in m. 10.
Agreed.
John Ruggero wrote:
15 Aug 2018, 12:46
2. The last bar on page two should end with a double barline, not a final barline. You probably have the document setting barlines> "final barline at end of piece" checked.
I knew better!! I missed that. Thanks.
John Ruggero wrote:
15 Aug 2018, 12:46
3. The Finale default for first and second ending brackets is seriously out-of-wack. There should be a gap between the two brackets. Take a look at some well-engraved published music.
Looks like I'll need to upgrade after all. You're correct about the ending brackets. I looked all over Finale 2014.5's documentation, and there's no global setting for this except to move each bracket manually.
John Ruggero wrote:
15 Aug 2018, 12:46
This is definitely an improv, no easy thing to notate. I found some of the voice-leading pretty interesting!
Yes! I'm definitely trying to capture the choir's natural rhythm. As you can see, my choir is very comfortable with jazz and ragtime styles...thanks again!
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Florian
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Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 15:34

Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by Florian » 17 Aug 2018, 07:52

I agree with John, you are definitely on the right track!

In addition to what John and Ben have said:

Have you considered moving lyrics that belong to the Sopranos only above the staff (and below the staff for the Basses after B)? I think that could improve clarity. The first bar looks a bit strange if you're reading the Alto voice. Also, this would allow you to center the main lyric line between the staves.

I would want to work on the rhythmic spacing. The lyrics distort it too much. It is possible to improve this, but it’s a nasty amount of mouse work in Finale. If I knew I was going to engrave hundreds of hymns, I would probably not even start bothering.

A few small things I noticed in no particular order:
  • I would add a quaver rest for the Alto at the beginning.
  • Bar 6, the first quavers in Tenor/Bass need to be moved apart, just a tad.
  • Generally, I would always hyphenate according to the normal rules: stor-my is easier to read than storm-y. But I know there are other opinions and practices. There's a collision between storm- and -y in B.
  • Align the stem lengths in the Soprano, first bar? Also later on, Tenor bar 4, 6 and similar cases.
  • Perhaps cut the beam in the Soprano in the very last bar?
  • Is it really a whole note in bar 12 A/T/B?
  • In an orchestra score, I would not place a rehearsal mark at the beginning. The conductor can choose from 'letter A', 'Andante', 'Segno' and 'the beginning'… but here they probably have some structural/formal meaning too..? Never mind.
Keep up the good work! I think your choir is fortunate enough to have you engrave their repertoire. I work as a choral conductor too and there's so much incredibly bad engraving in choral music! And congratulations for your appointment!

Schonbergian
Posts: 165
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 02:25
Location: Toronto

Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by Schonbergian » 17 Aug 2018, 15:00

In addition to what has been said above, I also think somewhat of a heavier weight would assist readability.

AsstGen2018
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 Aug 2018, 01:25

Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by AsstGen2018 » 19 Aug 2018, 00:27

Florian wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 07:52
Have you considered moving lyrics that belong to the Sopranos only above the staff (and below the staff for the Basses after B)? I think that could improve clarity. The first bar looks a bit strange if you're reading the Alto voice. Also, this would allow you to center the main lyric line between the staves.
Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, I have considered moving the Soprano lyrics above the treble staff. My choir's repertoire in general has so many Soprano lead-in phrases, and it looked awkward for the Sopranos to constantly move their eyes from above the staff to below the staff almost every other bar. I'm using the "Behind Bars" book as my style manual for this project, and it proposes your recommendation. However, I also looked at other SATB hymnals (which by the way transgresses many notation norms!!), and many of them keep all lyrics between the two staffs. I'll try your recommendation again and see how it looks on the page.
Florian wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 07:52
I would want to work on the rhythmic spacing. The lyrics distort it too much. It is possible to improve this, but it’s a nasty amount of mouse work in Finale. If I knew I was going to engrave hundreds of hymns, I would probably not even start bothering.
Yes! On a few other songs I tried to adjust the spacing so the notes correctly fit the bar, and not only was it cumbersome and time consuming, but also my scores were very long and spanned several pages. But I'm open to looking at this again.
Florian wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 07:52
A few small things I noticed in no particular order:
  • I would add a quaver rest for the Alto at the beginning.
  • Bar 6, the first quavers in Tenor/Bass need to be moved apart, just a tad.
Yep; I knew better. I need to slow down and proofread more. The Soprano stems should all be up so that I can add appropriate rests for the Alto. Will also separate overlapping notes.
Florian wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 07:52
  • Generally, I would always hyphenate according to the normal rules: stor-my is easier to read than storm-y. But I know there are other opinions and practices. There's a collision between storm- and -y in B.
Hmm. "Behind Bars" verifies what you recommend. However, I use http://juiciobrennan.com/hyphenator/ (as so many other copyists use), and it seems to automatically hyphenate according to dictionary standards. Either way, there's no excuse for the collision at B (thanks).
Florian wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 07:52
  • Align the stem lengths in the Soprano, first bar? Also later on, Tenor bar 4, 6 and similar cases.
  • Perhaps cut the beam in the Soprano in the very last bar?
  • Is it really a whole note in bar 12 A/T/B?
  • In an orchestra score, I would not place a rehearsal mark at the beginning. The conductor can choose from 'letter A', 'Andante', 'Segno' and 'the beginning'… but here they probably have some structural/formal meaning too..? Never mind.
The minor adjustments are fixed (thanks). Regarding rehearsal mark A, you are correct. But from a structural standpoint as you stated, we have a lyric book that is already in use, and the rehearsal marks correspond to the verse numbers in our lyric book.

Thanks again!
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AsstGen2018
Posts: 7
Joined: 15 Aug 2018, 01:25

Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by AsstGen2018 » 19 Aug 2018, 00:28

Schonbergian wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 15:00
In addition to what has been said above, I also think somewhat of a heavier weight would assist readability.
Thanks Schonbergian! When you say "heavier weight," are you referring to staff lines? More bold noteheads and stems? All the above?
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Schonbergian
Posts: 165
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 02:25
Location: Toronto

Re: New to engraving...am I on the right track?

Post by Schonbergian » 19 Aug 2018, 03:16

The font is fine but the staff lines and, particularly, the ledger lines could stand to be significantly thicker. There are some guides on this forum for setting line weight in Finale that I think you'd find useful.

I second the call for stor - my.

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