Tips and best practises for symphonic scores?

• Nov 29, 2022 - 18:01

I've got a enormous task to digitize classical symphonic music. Scores of scores, so to speak.

I've previously tried other methods (First to scan and "clean" with image editor, then to use a commercial product that analyses images and tries to create a score), but these methods are flawed.

So I may need to bite the big, sour apple and create scores from scratch.

Which is easiest; to create the full score first and then create the individual instrumental score from that, or opposite? (Can I create each individual score and then have MuseScore combine them to a full score?)

I don't want to do the job twice.

Any tricks and tips? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks! ♥


Start with the full score, then generate parts for the individual instruments, is the approach supported by the MuseScore workflow (see for more information).

This has the main advantage that most system elements (tempo, time/key signatures, rehearsal marks,...) need to be added only once (in the master score) instead of for every instrument separately.

In reply to by Turevarya

A few other potential advantages of starting with the score are:

a) There is always something happening in the score; having all the instruments in view helps to keep track of where you are in the staves of instruments with extended tacet sections.
b) There are often two or more instruments that have the same notes. And whole sections are often repeated verbatim; copy/paste saves a lot of time. Even where notes are not identical, rhythms often are and copy/paste can be followed by repitch note entry mode.
c) Dynamics and articulations are often applied "vertically" and can be added to several (or all) instruments simultaneously.

For what itcs worth, my workflow usually goes something like this:

  1. Set up the score with bar numbers at 1 bar intervals.
  2. Enter the notes of all instruments a page at a time adding system-wide elements such as voltas, rehearsal marks and tempo changes as I encounter them
  3. Return to the start of the score and enter all slurs and articulations
  4. Return to the start of the score and enter all dynamics and hairpins
  5. Return to the start and enter all other markings
  6. Proof read/listen and correct errors
  7. Proof read/listen again and correct more errors
  8. Sort out the layout and formatting and reset the bar numbering to "at start of each system".
  9. Proof read/listen again and confirm all errors have been fixed (hopefully!)
  10. Create the parts.
  11. Format the parts.

I can't stress enough the proof reading/listening steps. It is important to get the score right before creating parts. It is a pain to make corrections after the parts have bern created and formatted.

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