Score Preparation

Submitting Your Score

  1. Four printed copies of your score 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. Ensure that all notes, page and measure numbers, and other markings on your score are large enough to be easily legible. Combining pairs of like instruments on a single staff as outlined in the "Preparing the Score" section below will result in fewer staves on each page of the score and allow the printed staves and notes to be larger. Refer to the "Tutorials" section of this website for guidelines on creating professional, highly‑legible scores.
  4. Computer‑generated scores are preferred. Handwritten scores are acceptable if they are clearly legible.
  5. Chamber scores should measure 8.5 x 11 inches. Orchestral scores should measure 11 x 17 inches. Unless there is a strong reason to do otherwise, all scores should be formatted in portrait orientation. All scores should be double‑sided and bound.

Preparing the Score

  1. The first page of the score should be a title page. This page should list the composition title, composer's name, registration number, age, school, city and state, and the duration of the work.
  2. The next page of the score should list the complete instrumentation of the work, including any doublings (i.e., Flute 2 and Piccolo, or Oboe 2 and English Horn), keys of transposing instruments, and all percussion instruments. Program notes may also be listed on this page, if applicable.
  3. After the title page and instrumentation page, the next page should be the beginning of the notated music. On the first page of notated music, 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. In orchestral scores, the correct order of the staves is the one shown below. This is called “score order.”
  5. Flute 1 & 2*
    Oboe 1 & 2*
    Clarinet 1 & 2
    Bassoon 1 & 2

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

    Percussion 1
    Percussion 2

    Violin 1
    Violin 2
    Double Bass

    * Flute 2 may play or double on piccolo. Oboe 2 may play or double on English Horn.

  6. When creating scores for orchestra, it is preferable to combine like wind and brass instruments on a single staff as shown above (Flute  1 &  2, Oboe 1 & 2, etc.). This reduces the number of staves needed on the page and 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. Violin 1 and Violin 2 should always each have their own staves.
  7. In orchestral scores, 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.
  8. In orchestral scores, when two instruments are combined on a single staff and only the first should play, mark the passage "1.” (1 with a period) just before the first note of that passage. To indicate that the part is to be performed 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 only as an indication that the line is to be heard above the other instruments in the orchestra.
  9. In orchestral scores, 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 & 2. Most music notation programs do this automatically.
  10. Scores may be either transposed or written in concert pitch. The instrumentation page of the score should clearly indicate whether the score is transposed or not. (Note that this is only necessary for scores including transposing instruments.)
  11. Measure numbers should be marked at regular intervals in the score. Make sure that the measure numbers are large enough to be easily read.
  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.
  13. In orchestral scores, all tempo indications, rehearsal letters, and measure numbers should appear in two locations: above the top staff of the score and above the first violin staff. In chamber scores, these indications should appear only above the top staff.
  14. On each page, clefs and key signatures must appear at the beginning of each staff.

Preparing Individual Parts

  1. Contestants that have been selected as winners will be asked to submit a complete set of parts as PDF files.
  2. In the individual parts, each player should have only the part for their instrument(s). For example, for an orchestral piece, both Flute 1 and Flute 2 should receive their own separate parts (even if they appear on the same staff in the score). Do not combine multiple instruments onto 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. Each percussionist must receive their own separate part. 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. Individual parts for transposing instruments must be transposed, 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. 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. Music notation programs do not always automatically create multi-measure rests.
  7. Measure numbers should be marked at regular intervals in the parts. Make sure that the measure numbers are large enough to be easily read.
  8. Rehearsal marks should be placed in the same places in the parts as in the full score (notation programs do this automatically). When combining multiple measures of rests into a single bar, be sure to break the multi‑measure rest at rehearsal letters. 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.
  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. Normally, only string sections will have more than one player per part. Therefore, only string parts should be marked divisi.
  15. 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.
  16. Be sure to allow sufficient time for string players to add or remove mutes.
  17. In small print at the top or 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.