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Jon Senge
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   Posted 11/9/2015 2:21 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Asking for a professor and author:

Does anyone know the history and/or etymology of the score system divider? I'm aware of its varying English names, but does it have a common origin or more official term?

So far I've found the following English terms:
1. Score System Divider
2. System Dividers
3. Separation Marks

None of which seem especially definitive, despite their usage built into the software and plugins.

I'd love to hear if anyone knows anything further about the subject.


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Post Edited (Jon Senge) : 11/9/2015 12:30:57 PM (GMT-6)


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Charles Lawrence
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   Posted 11/9/2015 2:25 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Jon,

Perhaps a picture of what it is you are referring to would be in order.  Maybe its me, but I have no clue what you are talking about.


"Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about!"

 

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Dr. Wiggy
Early music: modern methods



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   Posted 11/9/2015 2:56 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
EDIT: I have found these marks in an Italian MS from the first decade of 18th century, though they are not very common. Usually brackets/braces suffice. Obviously, before that in the 17th century, scores were less common, with part books being more widespread. I wonder if the symbol was purloined from printers' marks or other scribe's symbols.

I'll take down some tomes and see what I can find. Such details would make for an interesting book. For instance, I love the fact that Thomas Morley ascribes the invention of the minim to a particular person, Philippe de Vitry.


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Post Edited (Wiggy) : 11/9/2015 1:16:37 PM (GMT-6)

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John Ruggero
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   Posted 11/9/2015 3:20 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Don't know a thing, but it might be a fairly recent development. I see them in the Mahler 1st (1906) placed a little differently from today. Then I see them in the Brahms symphonies complete works edition (1926-27) in the modern style.

I recently went looking for one in the Maestro font and came up empty. The Engraver has it however. The Maestro tremolo might substitute, I guess. I see that there is a Finale plugin that does these automatically.

Wondering why you are you researching this.

Anyone know of a good recent history of musical notation?


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Motet
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   Posted 11/9/2015 5:18 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Charles, see the attachment on the first posting (perhaps added after you posted).

Seems like music publishers need a way of talking about this in-house. Maybe one of our professional engravers here will know.


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Jon Senge
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   Posted 11/9/2015 5:20 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I engrave for a big US publisher and we don't have a standard for the term.


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Motet
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   Posted 11/9/2015 5:33 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
"System divider" seems like a good term, actually. No less valid than some Italian word.


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Charles Lawrence
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   Posted 11/9/2015 6:23 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Motet said...
Charles, see the attachment on the first posting (perhaps added after you posted).

 

I believe the image was posted after I commented.  I think I would have noticed it otherwise.
 
Looking at the times on the post, I find it extremely perplexing that the post was edited (12:30:57 PM) before it was posted (13:21 PM).blush


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GPO4.02

 

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"There is a world of difference between a person who has a big problem and a person who makes a problem big." – John Maxwell

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John Ruggero
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   Posted 11/9/2015 7:34 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Jon, looking more carefully at your attachment, the divider seems way off to the left. I have always seen them positioned under the left bar line. See attachment:


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Motet
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   Posted 11/9/2015 8:04 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The purpose is to catch the conductor's eye. Jon's is, I think, catchier than the Brahms.


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John Ruggero
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   Posted 11/9/2015 8:34 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Never saw one like that anywhere, and I've put in many a one by hand. It gets lost out there in left field. The function is to divide the music, not the instrument labels. And I sure hope the conductor is following the music and not the labels. Here's one by Holst:


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Jon Senge
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   Posted 11/9/2015 10:25 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
John, you're correct—centered under the bar line is optimal. This, if you notice is even in Sibelius. I just grabbed a quick sample to show the context of the symbol.


Twitter: @jonsenge
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John Ruggero
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   Posted 11/9/2015 10:31 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks, Jon. I hope you find your answers. You may have to do some research at IMSLP to get to the bottom of it.


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Charles Lawrence
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   Posted 11/9/2015 11:19 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
It seems to me, looking at the Holst example, that the divider is there to bring to the attention of the conductor that a new system is starting.  Note that page 12 of the score begins way down in the instrument list leaving 7 instruments in that top "incomplete" system.  The divider indicates a new system starts with top instrument in the list.


"Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about!"

 

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5930K CPU with 6 dual core processors @ 3.50 GHz (12 threads)

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Four 4TB and one 1TB internal SATA HD's
Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center x64 Edition, (06.03.9600.00)
Finale versions: 2011b.r2, 2012c.r13, 2014d.v5030

GPO4.02

 

Cakewalk SONAR X3

 

"There is a world of difference between a person who has a big problem and a person who makes a problem big." – John Maxwell

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John Ruggero
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   Posted 11/10/2015 11:22 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
That's exactly what the divider does, Charles. It is just a courtesy for the conducer on pages where there could be confusion.

In looking at various scores, the usage varies with the time period, location, and publisher apparently. The French scores I looked at didn't seem to use it at all, but I see them in La Boheme, Firebird, and in a score like Stravinsky's Requiem Canticles. Great long ones, actually, because of the cutaway score.


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