Guide to Imploding band scores

• Nov 1, 2019 - 02:32

I'm looking for a step by step guide for taking a band score and "impoloding" it for piano. I get the basics, but it's the cleaning up part that I have a problem with, the extra rests and the stems going opposite directions and the duplicate or triplicate beams for a single pair of notes. I'm lost on the Exchange Voices 1 and 2 function.

(I'm a keyboard player in an 'event band'. We have horn charts for the bigger gigs wherein we have a horn section. I'd like to reduce those down for nights when it's just me covering those parts.)

I've done a bit of searching, but mostly it's bits and pieces of answers. Surely this is a common question, reducing a multi-instrument score to something a piano can manage. Can someone point me in the right direction? Is there a comprehensive post or video somewhere I haven't found?

Thanks in advance


Each score is different so it's kind of hard to say. Implode does a pretty good job already on many scores, but if yours is one that needs further cleanup, we'd need to see the score in order to understand and advise better.

I can say that Exchange voices 1 & 2 does precisely what it says it will - everything in voice 1 goes to voice 2 and vice versa.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the reply. Here's two screenshots of a few bars of Fly Me To The Moon. The first shows the parts (already in Concert key) as they are. The second is what happens when I implode (no further steps taken). From here I'm not sure what to do to turn it into a two stave piano score.

In reply to by

I often use implode for my arrangements for big-bands or concert bands. very often the differents instruments are with the same rythm, "synchro", in this case, don't use Voices, all instruments in voice 1 and you get Chords, with no problems for stems. If rythm is different, sure use voices, but, in beginning, for example 4 trumpets, or 4 trombons, or 4 Saxes, implode them first, in chords, that will give you, 1 stave for trumpets , 1 for trumbons, etc. After, if , like very often, trumpets are in the same rythm as trumbons, you implode the both. In your exemple for Fly me to the moon, everybody is on the same rythm perfectly, you can have surely, with implode , all instruments for 4 or 5 fingers for the pianist. If you have 20 saxes, trumpets, trumbons, finally, they play chords, and , for the pianist, 4,5,or 6 notes it's enough

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So with Exchange, (and this will sound painfully obvious), everything assigned to Voice 1 will SWAP with Voice 2 (meaning everything in Voice 2 is now Voice 1) What would be the purpose of that?
will everything in Voice 1 now BECOME and merge with Voice 2

Maybe this is an easier example. The first is the original (with Concert Key checked) and the second is my result with implode.

I haven't tried mike suggestion yet of creating a new staff and imploding with that. I have to leave for the weekend, but I'll be needing to pick this up later. Thanks to both of you for the input.

In reply to by

For your purposes, swap is mostly useless. It could be useful if you have two trumpets with different rhythms and the second trumpets play higher than the first trumpets for an extended amount of time, but this is unusual. Using swap in this case would put the higher notes in voice 1 and make the stems default to pointing up, which the keyboard player would appreciate.

If you were turning this into a vocal score and putting the Soprano and Alto on one staff, it would be a convenient way to exchange the singer in certain places if say the Clarinet part went below the Trumpet part, but you wanted the Sopranos to continue singing higher notes. I know this is a contrived example, but you should get the idea. The two singing voices should be notated in separate voices on the score.

In reply to by

There are actually many good uses for exchanging voices. Off the top of my head:

  • to move existing voices 1 notes to voice 2 in preparation for then entering music into voice 1
  • to move voice 1 notes to voice 3 in preparation for using rhythmic slash notation above the staff
  • any situation where you entered notes into voice 1 and went to add voice 2 and only then realized you did it backwards

Regarding your example - exactly as I said before, simply run implode again on the staff that now has multiple voices to merge them into one. Note you need note have fiddled with the stem directions first, in fact, that was a mistake, you should reset those or the combined chords will have the incorrect stem directions.

Running implode on multiple staves combines them onto one staff with multiple voices. Running implode on a single staff combines the multiple voices into chords. Both are things you may want at different times, so it's good to have both behaviors available individually and to also have the ability to combine them.

In reply to by

You need to fix the stem directions you've fiddled with because otherwise the automatic stem directions won't work and you'll have wrong stem directions after the implode. But you can fix it before or after imploding for the second time. You can either do Ctrl+A to select all the Ctrl+R, when will reset other manual adjustments to (probably a good idea, as they are unlikely to make sense in the imploded score), or right-click a stem and Select / All Similar Elements then Ctrl+R to reset the stems only.

In the future though, don't mess with the stem directions at all. On the first implode the stems will face outward as they correctly should for mutlivoice music. On the second the chord will have proper stem direction acccording to standard rules of notation.

Two suggestions.

  1. Put the view into concert pitch if it's not already there (this will put all instruments on the correct clef, like the treble clef Baritone) then...
  2. Insert an empty staff above all of the treble clef instruments and implode the new staff and all treble staves, then select the new staff and implode again to turn like rhythms into chords. Insert a new staff above the bass instruments and repeat the same process as for the trebles (two implodes)

You then have 2 choices. Delete all of the unneeded instruments and save as or create a piano score and copy and paste the new staves to the piano.

All these suggestions and guides are fantastic. I can’t wait to get back home and get started again. Reducing horn sections for use as a keyboard player is the first task.
The more ambitious task (for my day job of retirement community entertaining) is taking whatever signature big band arrangements I can find of Sinatra classics (Fly Me To The Moon, Night and Day, Very Good Year, etc) and implode/create piano friendly charts that contain those licks that HAVE to be in there. I’m getting bored of just singing from lead sheets. Thanks again to such a supportive notation community.

For anyone finding this, after you've imploded multiple staffs and imploded the single staff, you can click on voice 1 to force the remaining junk to voice 1 and then implode the single staff again

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