Choral divided writing

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Re: Choral divided writing

Post by MJCube » 15 Nov 2016, 15:05

benwiggy wrote:for short score writing, the parts should have individual stems.
I disagree. Clutter is an important enemy of clarity in scores. I have copied choral pieces of a huge variety of textures over the years, and I agree with Gould on sharing stems, whether SA/TB closed score or separate staves with divisi. In some hymnals they share every possible stem, splitting only when the rhythm differs, regardless of vertical space considerations. This kind of stemming is obviously not confusing to the organist, and the congregation mostly sings the tune if anything. As a choral singer reading parts I find it awkward to go from one stem to two and back to one in a single bar, so as an editor I sometimes avoid excess switching and let a note or two of homophony keep separate stems, because it reads more smoothly. But academic insistence on separate stems is useless when the texture divides differently, such as Sopranos+Altos in 3 equal parts.

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Re: Choral divided writing

Post by benwiggy » 15 Nov 2016, 16:19

I agree that switching between different stems is awkward: and I'd therefore argue for uniformity throughout. If there's any contrapuntal lines or only one part for a bit, then stemming is the easiest way. If it's just block chords, then maybe, though In my experience, it's cause for disparaging comment in the choir stalls if a short score has only stem for two parts.

If you've got 3 parts, then I'd suggest that's generally at the boundaries of the utility of short score. To my way of thinking, stemming adds clarity by confirming beyond doubt which part is which, particularly when lines cross. If it's more basic music, then perhaps.

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Re: Choral divided writing

Post by OCTO » 15 Nov 2016, 18:05

Thank you friends.
I have now an additional question: I have SATB in separate staves. Altos get divided in 3 - but the rhythm is completely the same (mixtures). How to do that?
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