Sunday, 22 June 2014

Dealing with BIG scores and parts

So anyone who has been active in new music has probably dealt with this one time or another, that of the


So there are obvious challenges with this, including things such as transport, needing several stands to rehearse, arts and crafts to make it work for performances, having a copy for study, and more!

So before we go blasting people for this, big scores are useful when there is a great deal of information present. When you are doing a work for a complex audio track, two or more instruments, and timer you really do need to have all of that information on hand to execute a great performance. There are some exceptions with publishers. I won't name them here but with some you end up with what is a standard size printing on a score with GIANT margins. I did a piece like this recently I ended up taking a paper cutter to it (I own the part, librarians calm down) and turned it into a very usable size score (with the original binding).

Though the last thing we want to do is mutilate parts to make them easier for us. So I have a method that I have used in the past, and have used to help colleges out that I will share with you all. (Hold applause)

A year ago I built a book scanner to help me digitize my library so I could have it with me on my tablet at all times. The benefit of this was I had access to all of my resources at all times, so when I wanted a single page from Arbans I could just pull it up and use it. No copying, or carrying around that tome or the back problems that will come with it. So why is that pertinent to this? Well with a book scanning set up you can turn HUGE pieces of paper into whatever size you want very easily. I won't get into full book scanning workflow or anything as there is tons out there on the subject already. I will just help cover one sample case here, the problems I found and solved etc.

Here is that part we all saw coming. Don't start acquiring music this way that you do not own. Support publishers and colleagues that work hard making this available to us. If you make performance copies destroy them after etc etc we all know the drill here. If not, consult your local librarian and they will let you know how it works.

So Step 1:


  • Camera (that can have a wired/wireless trigger)
  • Tripod
  • Camera trigger
  • Conversion program. I recommend ScanTailor
  • Suggested: A way to convert images to PDF.
  • Piece of glass (recommended) or a way to keep the page totally flat (books/scores) if they are not it will warp the output.
Step 2:

Set up.

This is mine, I made the stand out of cardboard, you can find blueprints for this in tons of places. Not a necessity, but makes life easy, I have used a music stand in the past as well. What is important is that the angle between the lens is and the item being captured is the same or else you will warp the page.

Check out here for ideas.

Step 3: Take some pictures.

Now you get to process the photos!!

Here is a guide that is just better than what I would type up... so.... CLICK

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