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habibbijan
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   Posted 1/1/2004 2:51 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hi everyone,

You know that I'm totally hopeless when I'm up late after New Year's working on a score.

Something has been bothering me for a little while and I would like to seek other opinions. When writing for wind ensemble, I know that certain instruments have more than two players (flutes, clarinets...), while others usually only have two players (oboe, bassoon...). My question is: After soloing an instrument, is there a standard for expressing that you want everyone to play again (ex. solo flute - all flutes)?

Here is how I usually do it: If that instrument usually has more than two players, I write "unison" above the passage when everyone is to enter after a solo, provided that the passage is in unison. If that instrument usually has only two players, I write "a2" above the part when everyone enters.

Sorry if I am showing my ignorance concerning such matters. I've seen it expressed in many ways, and want to make it as clear as possible, so that even the dumbest performer can understand on the first read-through. Perhaps "tutti" would be a better expression?

Does anyone have any authority to speak on this matter? Thanks.


Brian Bondari
www.habibbijan.com
"Writing music with theory in mind is like wearing underwear that's too tight. It's restricting!"

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Peter Thomsen
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   Posted 1/1/2004 4:28 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Here is my list:

Solo = 1 player.
a2 = (italian: a due) 2 players - used when there are more than 2 players on that part. Often used between a Solo passage and a Tutti passage.

Gli altri = the others - used when the other players on the part should play after (or during) a solo passage (pronounced "li altri").
Tutti = everybody. "Tutti" may also be used when there are only 2 players on that part.

Divisi = divided - used when everybody on the part plays one of the voices.
Uniti = united - used after a "Divisi" passage.

Peter
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Dick Brodfuehrer
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   Posted 1/1/2004 5:10 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Brian,
It depends on how far against tradition you are willing to go to accomodate your "dumbest performer." ;-)  That performer isn't going to have a clue as to what "a2," "tutti," or "gli altri" mean.


Some other options to get everyone playing again are:
Everyone
Ensemble
Ens.
No Solo
Unison (when applicable)


(Currently using: Finale 2003a, Windows 98-2e, TGTools 2.25, and Glenlivet when I can afford it.)
 
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
 

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Matthew Hindson
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   Posted 1/1/2004 9:34 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Dick Brodfuehrer said...
Brian,

It depends on how far against tradition you are willing to go to accomodate your "dumbest performer." ;-) That performer isn't going to have a clue as to what "a2," "tutti," or "gli altri" mean.



Yeah, but they're going to have to learn sometime, right? :-) I think that there is a lot to be said for using standard text notations, where possible.

Then again, for English-speaking people, your alternative list is very clear as well...

For what it's worth, my only deviation from Peter's list would be to use "Unis." instead of "Uniti".
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habibbijan
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   Posted 1/1/2004 11:54 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for the input!

I guess I'm just hesitant to write "a2" when I know that there are more than two players on a part. Subconsciously, I'm hoping that if I write "a2" for the oboes (and "unison" or "tutti" for the other winds), they won't be tempted to ever use more than two, which could be disastrous! tongue That's my humble bias anyway.

Thanks for the alternate expressions, Dick. Like Matthew, I'm inclined to lean toward standard text notations where possible. Perhaps I will experiment with the alternate ones though. No matter what expressions are used, I think it's safe to say that consistency of expression is of the utmost importance.

Perhaps even the dumbest performer will catch on after a while!


Brian Bondari
www.habibbijan.com
"Writing music with theory in mind is like wearing underwear that's too tight. It's restricting!"

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dlovrien
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   Posted 1/2/2004 12:06 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
In American band and wind ensemble music, "tutti" and "a2" are the most common notations to end a solo passage.  I see "unis." regularly as well.  In band music, you  often don't know how many players will be sharing the same part.  You may have 2 flutes, or 14.  I use "tutti" to indicate the end of a solo passage, and "a2" mainly when a divisi line becomes unison again (not to indicate the number of players, but to indicate that players playing the divided lines should now all play the unison line).
 
FWIW, when writing or arranging for large ensembles, I always opt for the most common expressions in order to minimize rehearsal time.  Putting "gli altri" in a score would only earn me a disdainful glance from the conductor...
 
David Lovrien
Dallas Wind Symphony
 
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Ron.
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   Posted 1/3/2004 2:24 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
According to my composition teacher, "unis." and "div." are used for strings where you have two or more notes simultaneously (eg, a 2-note chord in the cellos)--to indicate whether all instruments play both notes as double or triple stopped or the sections split into parts to play the notes individually.
For woodwinds and brass, you use a2, a3, a4, etc. to indicate how many instruments are playing the line. A single number, above or below the staff, depending on which voice, indicates which instrument will play solo. Of course, this is for symphony orchestras. Wind and brass bands where there could be dozens playing an instrument would use "tutti", etc. as David points out in the post above.
By the way, singers are much smarter than instrumentalists: when they come across two or more simultaneous notes they are smart enough to realize that they need to decide who is going to sing which notes without any direction from the composer at all.
At the risk of sounding chauvenistic, we used to use Italian in scores because Italy was the centre of Western music. That has not been the case for a long time (not to say there are not many fine Italian musicians and composers), but now English-speaking musicians greatly outnumber the Italian music population when it was at its height by several factors. So, I generally use English unless the Italian is immediately understood (such as "pizzicato").


Ron
Finale 2004a, W98 SE

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ohante
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   Posted 1/4/2004 9:29 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
What generally solves all my problems is remembering what staff the expression is applied to.
If a staff is named for one instrument (i.e. Cello in an Orchestral score; Clarinet 1 in a Band score) but can vary in the amount of players, "unis." and "div." can usually get the job done.  If they happen to divisi by 3 or 4 then "div. a3" or "div. a4" respectively.
If a staff is named for two or more instruments (i.e. Clarinet 1 & 2 in an Orchestral score) then div. and a2 (or "a3" if applicable) will  be used.
The key is that the expression makes sense in relation to the staff name and the setting (Band or Orchestral).


I hope this helps


Ante


ASG

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BobRock
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   Posted 1/4/2004 10:43 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Solo<->Tutti

a 2/3/4<-> unisono
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