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Unit 6: Counting music. Step in time!

Reading a score

Now that you can read a score, we must try to go further and do it better. Here come some facts that are important to read (and write) a score.

If you write a score and you reach the end of the staff, you must jump to the next one after finish the actual measure. In the new staff, a clef must be written as a reminder of the first one, but it's not necessary to write again the time signature. Other indications inside the staff, the tonality for instance, must be write again.


Normally, recorder music is written in one staff. Some other instruments, like the harp or the piano can use two. When several staves work together they form a system. A system is always used when two or more instruments play together. When two or more notes appear together means that tose noted must be sound at the same time. 


The way we write a system for several instruments is not casual: Every instrument must be placed in families, and always high instruments first. So, in an orchestral music piece, woodwind instrument come first, followed by brass, percussion, voices and string instruments.


If you need to write the lyrics of a song on a score, just put the syllables right below the notes to sing.


Tempo and metronome

Composers want to comunicate with performers. Sometimes, the only way to do this is through the score. That's the reason scores have a lot of information. One of the most useful indications is the TEMPO. Tempo is refered to the speed the score must be played. Normally this term is used in Italian, but can be used in any other language. This tempo information is a word or a sentence at the beginning of the score, just after the G clef.


This indication, from slowest to fastest will be as follow:


This indication works wonderfully, but it has a problem: Not everyone thinks the same way about speed. That's why a device was invented to measure the number of beats per minutes: The METRONOME.


The metronome has number values in a scale that mean the number of beats per minutes. This way is clearer for the composer to express the speed they want to be performed their music.

This value can appear at the beginning of the score, even both, numerical and textual, can be there!

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