The most realistic splits between parts

• Feb 27, 2024 - 17:56

Hi. I have one question. If you want to split a section of instruments, say, one group of three trombone players, is it better to have each player and one staff, or is it better to have two players and one staff and the third player in another staff, thus erasing the need for a third staff, unless you put it to where it's the entire section of trombone players.


From the players' point of view, one instrument per staff is best. Unless the parts are very simple, two parts per staff makes life difficult, three makes it almost impossible.

In a score if the parts have a similar rhythm then three on one stave is probably a good thing, If the parts' rhythms differ significantly and especially if the pitches "cross" then it is probably best to have no more than two per stave.

In reply to by SteveBlower

I agree, if it's not very "simple music", it's better to have one part pretty instrument. In the score, however, you may have to put more than one instrument per stand to save space. In one piece in currently finalising, I've combined Flute 1/2, Oboe 1/2, Clarinet 1/2, Basson 1/2 and so on.

A cautious remark. In principle, you can create a part from a stave having two voices but it's not straight forward to get everything right, e.g. dynamics in the individual parts because you cannot really see in the score where you have inserted the dynamics, in voice 1, 2 or both. I fiddled around with this for a few days but finally gave up so now I have one stave for the combined Flute 1/2, I've got Flute 1 and finally one for Flute 2. This is not ideal as you duplicate your work and in case of corrections you must remember doing it in more than one place. In the score I then make the individual instrument staves invisible. This is repeated for each "combined" instrument

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