John Joubert stressed the importance of conventional score layout, with woodwind at the top, strings at the bottom of the page, and transposing instruments presented with their parts transposed. Similarly, paying attention to beaming or grouping notes on the stave so that the beat is always discernible. All of these help players and conductors to assimilate pieces more easily. He urged composers to be consistent with the use of signs, e.g. tremolo; to identify places where there may be ‘dead’ texture and create movement instead and to avoid strings of long pauses as these dissipate tension in the piece. This is particularly important in short pieces where composers can’t afford to let tension evaporate.
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Photo © Graham Boulton