The instrumental parts for my orchestra piece arrived in the post this week, having been sent back after Tectonics by the BBC Music Library. As I tell all my students, look at what the players write on your parts as it will tell you a lot about what they need to know. Mostly, in this case, it was lovely drawings.
As I mentioned in the previous post, there was some discussion about the ease of finding each cued pitch on the score. I deliberately made this a little tricky to lengthen the time it might take to respond to cues. So it was very interesting to see how players had found strategies to deal with this. The main one was to draw pictures of the objects or animals that initiate the cues. There were as a result some lovely drawings of cows, cannons, and toilets.
The other method was to mark up each cue with a second cue word that used the same pitch. As there are 24 cues, and two lots of 12 pitches, some players just wrote both cues against each pitch to double their chances of finding a cue quickly.
Both of these methods are fine, as long as it retains the variation in search speed across the group, which is probably inevitable however quick everyone is to respond. It certainly made me think a little more about information design which will be useful in the piece for Ictus at Donaueschingen I’m working on at the moment. It will also have some sound/word cues, and should be ready by the beginning of July.