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Re: relative pitch with song sections

From: Simon Albrecht
Subject: Re: relative pitch with song sections
Date: Fri, 16 May 2014 00:08:03 +0200
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Am 15.05.2014 18:53, schrieb Brian Barker:
At 06:30 15/05/2014 +1000, Nick Payne wrote:
I would say, based on my fairly extensive collection of guitar scores, collected over about 40 years, that there are probably more commercially engraved editions that omit the "8" than those that show it.

This is surely no different from the practice with tenor staves in SATB scores, where the "8" under the tenor's treble clef is indeed more often omitted than included. But in vocal music with more than four parts, and especially where the number of staves shown can vary from system to system, those little 8s are a significant help to the eye - apart from being technically required.

Elaine Gould describes these 8s as "optional", but adds (in the context of a full score) "the modified clef makes it easier to identify the position of instruments with such transpositions in a score".

Brian Barker
At first I was also inclined towards saying that it’s correct to add the 8 and it doesn’t hurt anyone, so why not just leave it where Lily puts it by default. Then I thought of a counter-example: some orchestra instruments (most notably double basses, but also contrabassoons and maybe others) to sound an octave lower than written, and the very best of hand-engraved scores all don’t have a clef modifier (i.e. an "8" below – or above – the clef). The (hand-engraved and overwhelmingly well done) UE score of Mahler’s 7th symphony, which also scores a guitar in its fourth movement, has no clef modifier for the guitar also, but uses an explanatory text below the instrument name, which states that the guitar shall sound an octave lower than written. I say this because this kind of scores for me represent the very summit of engraving art and should IMHO serve as a reference before anything else. That notwithstanding one may of course reconsider the case, also because it really isn’t more than a nitpick, to be honest.

All the best,
Simon Albrecht

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