Because of the space
constraints of an article I am only going to touch on a few basic
principles regarding practical vocals. Remember, I am a commercial
music copyist. Most of my work is for studio musicians and my
perspective may differ some from a published vocal. As I have said
in many previous articles, my only concern is doing what is best for the
studio musician to give them the best opportunity for a one time read
Having gotten that caveat
out of the way, here is generally what I like to see, in order of priority.
1) Clear Lyrics, at least
12 point, 14 point when practical (the larger the better for some of our more, shall we say,
experienced studio singers).
2) Use optimizations
wisely. Don't go crazy with the optimizing tool in your
layout. Using it is a great way to save space but you must be
careful to make everything absolutely clear. You don't want a singer
having to bounce around staves having to search for his or her part.
I suggest laying out the
number of bars per stave first, before you actually layout each
page. You will be able to see what fits lyric-wise and you will be
able to decide how you want to affect optimization.
For example, I might
physically enter a whole rest in a measure of a line on a system that
isn't singing during that particular section because I don't want the
system to go away during that section. Perhaps that line is only out
for a couple of bars and the visual value of keeping it active (while
allowing you to use the optimization boxes to move system staves) out
weighs the benefit of removing the line in that particular system.
3) After using the
optimizing tool you will be able to adjust the distance between staves of
an individual system for particularly complicated passes. When you
click on the Staff Tool you will normally see one handle/box per stave
line. After optimization you will see two, the second of which
(bottom box) allows you to move that stave line only without affecting
that line in any other system.
This comes in very handy
when you are trying to squeeze an extra system on a page (minor
adjustments in several staves can easily bring in another system).
Particularly when you are dealing with vocals, you will have a variety of
space requirements on a page (multiple layers, additional lyrics, etc...),
so this requires maximum flexibility.
Here are a few other
tidbits: a) Number every bar on the bottom stave, all studio musicians
need to be able to got to a particular bar as quickly as possible (time is
money), b) Print at least 8 1/2 by 11, don't get cute by using the
standard published vocal size - the singers will have music stands and it
needs to be as large and clear as possible, and c) Talk to studio singers
whenever possible, find out what they prefer and see if you can make their
life easier, that is what music prep is all about.
will be posting examples for my suggestions above, so you might want to
check back to the article over the next week.