Format Descriptions Publishers use a lot of words to describe what they sell, and we know it can be confusing. Below are descriptions of the terms that we use to describe the various formats that music often comes in. The instrumental parts are not there for reference. Generally, cheaper than a vocal score and requires multiple copies for purchase.
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The system used above is standard in the orchestra music field. The first set of numbers before the dash represent the Woodwinds. The set of numbers after the dash represent the Brass. Percussion is abbreviated following the brass. Strings are represented with a series of five digits representing the quantity of each part first violin, second violin, viola, cello, bass. Instruments shown in parenthesis are optional and may be omitted. Example 1 - Beethoven: [2,2,2,,2,0,0, tymp, ] The Beethoven example is typical of much Classical and early Romantic fare.
In this case, the winds are all doubled 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets and 2 bassoons , and there are two each horns and trumpets. There is no low brass. There is tympani. Strings are a standard configuration 4 first violin, 4 second violin, 3 viola, 2 cello, 2 bass.
Sometimes strings are simply listed as "str," which means strings. Note the inclusion of the saxes after bassoon for this band work. Note also that the separate euphonium part is attached to trombone with a plus sign. For orchestral music, saxes are at the end see Saxophones below. Multiples, if any, are not shown in this system.
The numbers represent only distinct parts, not the number of copies of a part. Example 3 - MacKenzie: a fictional work, by the way. Note: This system lists Horn before Trumpet.
This is standard orchestral nomenclature. Also, it should be noted that Euphonium can be doubled by either Trombone or Tuba. Typically, orchestra scores have the tuba linked to euphonium, but it does happen where Trombone is the principal instead. Saxophones, when included in orchestral music they rarely are will be shown in the "other instrument" location after strings and before the soloist, if any.
Letters that are duplicated as in A in this example indicate multiple parts.
Hommages à..., for clarinet
Béla Kovács - Hommages
Hommages : pour clarinette = für Klarinette = for clarinet = klarinétra