Preparing Scores

Submitting Your Score

  1. Four copies of your score for either chamber ensemble or full-orchestra must be included in the submission package.
  2. It is not necessary to include separated individual instrument parts in your submission package. Individual parts are only required once a composition has been selected as a winner.
  3. Computer-generated scores are preferred. Handwritten scores are acceptable if they are clearly legible. All scores should be no larger than 11 x 17 inches, bound. (e.g. spiral, staple, etc.)
  4.  

Preparing the Score

  1. The first page of the score for chamber ensemble or full-orchestra compositions must be labeled with the title, composer's name, age, school, city and state, and the duration of the work.
  2. Include a page at the beginning of the score that lists the instrumentation, including any doublings (i.e., Flute 2 and Piccolo, or Oboe 2 and English Horn), keys of transposing instruments (clarinets, horns and trumpets), and all percussion instruments.
  3. On the first page of the score, the full name of each instrument should be listed to the left of the corresponding staves. On subsequent pages, abbreviations of the instrument names may be used.
  4. The preferred order of the staves on the full score is:
  5. (Piccolo)
    Flute 1 & 2
    Oboe 1 & 2
    (English Horn)
    Clarinet 1 & 2
    Bassoon 1 & 2

    Horn 1 & 2
    Horn 3 & 4
    Trumpet 1 & 2
    Trombone 1 & 2
    Bass Trombone
    Tuba

    Timpani
    Percussion 1
    Percussion 2
    Harp

    Violin 1
    Violin 2
    Viola
    Cello
    String Bass

  6. In scores for full-orchestra, it is preferable to combine like instruments on a single staff such as Flute 1 & 2, or Clarinet 1 & 2. This reduces the number of staves needed on the page and thereby allows each staff to be larger and easier to read. Never combine more than two instruments on a single staff. For example, the four Horns require two staves with two horn parts per staff. Likewise, Trombones 1 & 2 should share a staff, but the third (bass) trombone should have its own staff which may be shared with the Tuba at the composer’s option. However, Violin 1 and Violin 2 should each have their own staves.
  7. In scores for full-orchestra, Horns 1 & 2 are shown on one staff, and Horns 3 & 4 on the other. By tradition, Horns 1 & 3 are “high horns” and Horns 2 & 4 are “low horns.” The four horn parts going from highest to lowest are as follows: Horn 1, Horn 3, Horn 2, Horn 4. This traditional pairing of horns is because in the past, composers sometimes specified two pairs of horns in two different keys in order to cover the desired range. For example, a composer could specify two horns in C and two in E♭ for a piece in C minor, in order to gain harmonics of the relative major unavailable on the C horns. Eventually, two pairs of horns became the standard, and from this tradition of two independent pairs, each with its own "high" and "low" horn, came the modern convention of writing parts 1 and 3 above parts 2 and 4. Nowadays, horns are grouped into "high" horn and "low" horn pairs, with individual horn players often specializing in playing higher or lower parts.
  8. When two instruments are combined on a single staff and there is a single line to be played by the first player only, indicate "1.” (1 with a period) just before the first note of that passage. This is short-hand for "1st". To indicate that the part is to be played by the second player only, indicate "2." To indicate that the part is to be played by both players, indicate "a2" (no period). The term "solo" is used as an indication that the line is to be heard above the other instruments in the orchestra.
  9. In scores for full-orchestra, the staves in each section (woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings) are normally grouped using brackets. Within those brackets, a second set of brackets are normally used to group Violin 1 & 2 and Horn 1 & 2. Most music notation programs take care of this automatically.
  10. The score may be a transposing score or written in concert pitch. Either is acceptable, but on the instrumentation page of the score there should be an indication of which it is.
  11. Measure numbers should be marked at regular intervals in the score. Music notation programs generally take care of this. Make sure that the measure numbers are large enough to be easily read. This may require an adjustment to the default settings in the notation software.
  12. It is recommended that rehearsal letters be included in the score and individual parts. Rehearsal letters should be placed at regular intervals at locations that would provide a natural starting point during the rehearsal. Liberal use of rehearsal letters keeps musicians and conductor from having to count measures during the rehearsal and saves valuable time.
  13. All tempo indications, rehearsal letters, and measure numbers should appear above the top staff of the score and above the first violin staff.
  14. On each page, clefs and key signatures must appear at the beginning of each staff.
  15.  

Preparing Individual Parts

  1. Contestants that have been selected as winners must send the individual parts, either as PDF files or printed on 8½ x 11 inch paper, to:
    National Young Composers Challenge
    PO Box 2023
    Winter Park, FL 32790-1689
    Only one copy per part is needed. NYCC will make additional copies as required.
  2. In the individual parts, each player should have only the part for his instrument(s). For example, there must be two individual parts for Flute 1 and Flute 2. Do not combine Flute 1 and 2 on a single part for both players to read.
  3. If Piccolo is included in the instrumentation, the part should be given to the 2nd flute player. If that player is to play both Flute 2 and Piccolo, it is considered a “double” and the Piccolo part should be combined in the same part with Flute 2. Likewise, if an English Horn part is specified, it should be combined in the same part with Oboe 2. Be sure to indicate when the player is to change instruments and allow sufficient time (rests) for the musician make the change.
  4. There should be separate parts for each percussionist. If one percussionist is to play multiple instruments, then those instruments can be combined on a single staff. If a 5-line staff is used, then each instrument can be assigned a different line or space on the staff. On the instrumentation page, include a guide indicating which line or space is assigned to which percussion instrument. It is good practice to indicate when a player is to change instruments. Be sure to allow sufficient time (rests) for the percussionist to change instruments.
  5. Each individual part should be transposed for that instrument, even if the score is written in concert pitch.
  6. In the individual parts, multiple consecutive measures of rests should be combined into a single bar containing a rest with a number above indicating the total number of bars of rest. This makes it easier for the player to count the number of measures of rest and saves space, eliminating unnecessary page turns. If there is an important structural division within the music during that multi-measure rest, the rest is normally broken up into separate groups of multi-measure rests. The multi-measure rest function is not always taken care of automatically by music notation programs.
  7. Measure numbers should be marked at regular intervals in the parts. Music notation programs generally take care of this. Make sure that the measure numbers are large enough to be easily read. This may require an adjustment to the default settings in the notation software.
  8. It is recommended that rehearsal letters be included in the score and individual parts. Rehearsal letters should be placed at regular intervals at locations that would provide a natural starting point during the rehearsal. Liberal use of rehearsal letters keeps musicians and conductor from having to count measures during the rehearsal and saves valuable time. When combining multiple measures of rests into a single bar, be sure to break the multi-measure rest at rehearsal letters so that the musician will know where to start counting when the conductor starts at that letter. For example, if a rehearsal letter is located in the middle of a 40‑measure rest, break the rests up into two bars, each with a 20‑measure rest, with the rehearsal letter located between the two bars.
  9. On each page of the individual parts, clefs and key signatures must appear at the beginning of each staff.
  10. Tempo and meter changes must be shown on all individual parts, even during periods of extended rest.
  11. It is recommended that cues are placed after long periods of rests, transposed to the reading key of the instrument. Cues must be audible to the musician reading the part. Cues are helpful when sight-reading in case the musician loses count during long rest periods.
  12. If an individual printed part requires more than two pages, arrange the measures and staves on each page to facilitate page turns. If possible, try to locate one or more measures of rests at the end or beginning of every other page to allow sufficient time for the musician to turn the page during the performance. (Printed parts which do not exceed two pages can be viewed on a music stand without requiring page turns.)
  13. It is a good idea to check harp pedaling and string bowings with an experienced harpist and string player. When in doubt, allow the harp pedaling to be determined by the performing harpist.
  14. Be sure to indicate string bowings (slurs) and articulation marks. Bowing direction (up or down) is normally determined by the concert master or conductor. Only indicate up or down bowing when necessary to obtain a desired sound which may not be obvious to the string player.
  15. Normally, only string sections will have more than one player per part. Therefore only string parts may be marked divisi.
  16. When indicating divisi in string parts, be careful not to divide a string section into too many parts, especially when a section may be small. For example, specifying three divisi parts within a cello section with 4 or 5 players will result in two cellos playing some notes and only a single cello on others.
  17. Be sure to allow sufficient time for string players to add or remove mutes.
  18. In small print at the bottom of each page in the individual parts, indicate the instrument (Flute 1, Flute 2, etc.), the page number, and the name of the composition, in case the pages get mixed up. If multiple revisions of the score have been distributed, be sure and indicate the revision number at the bottom of the score and each page of the individual parts.