Counting measures

September 26, 2018, 7:44 AM · This is a stupid question but I have to do something for orchestra as librarian and I find myself unsure: when counting measures (in a part where the measure numbers are not listed), does the second ending of a repeat count as NEW measures or the same measure numbers as the first ending?


Replies (9)

September 26, 2018, 7:56 AM · The important thing is uniformity of measure count in all parts. To gain this the measures should be counted first in the score, which can then be used to verify the count in all the parts.

The practice I have experienced has been to count first and second ending measures as the same (i.e. 26a-27a and 26b-27b, etc.) This works out fine if 1st and 2nd endings have the same number of measures.

There are some pieces out there where only some of the instruments do not have repeats so the 2nd strain is written out - this brings up different measure counting problems. Where this is the case in orchestra music you would expect it to be written out in the score.

September 26, 2018, 8:24 AM · OK. The conductor has the score and I do not and she asked me to do this. Her score apparently DOES have numbered measures, which the parts do not, but she specifically told ME to do it to save her the time so . . . trying to do it without having to ask her for her score. It doesn't appear to be on IMSLP.
Edited: September 26, 2018, 8:52 AM · Demand the score - otherwise you can spend days counting and writing measure numbers only to find you disagree. Printed music can have errors too (in measure numbers) - but that will not matter if all parts agree.

If this is a paid job, be nice about it.

September 26, 2018, 9:26 AM · Elizabeth you absolutely need the score the conductor is using! They will find it normal that you ask them for it in order to be able to do a proper job.
September 26, 2018, 12:30 PM · Yeah, well . . .
September 26, 2018, 3:08 PM · Yes, it must agree with the conductor.
I can't tell you how many HOURS were wasted in rehearsal because my last conductor was too lazy to number his parts or check what the orchestra had. Back and forth "wait, what do you guys have? What is bar 23?"
On and on. A very unprofessional thing to do for a conductor.
September 26, 2018, 3:27 PM · Elizabeth,

The direct answer to your question is: A second ending adds measures to the entire piece.

That being said, if the parts don't have measure numbers, then it is likely that the score doesn't either and the conductor marked the score. Now, that should use the general rule that the second ending adds measures, but you never know.

Actually if the orchestra is using IMSLP sourced music it is not likely that the measures are numbered. Sometimes the publisher has large letters strategically placed in the music so that the conductor can ask the orchestra to "Go to three measures before/after "A""

October 2, 2018, 3:47 PM · Rehearsal marks are a lot less work to set up than measure numbers, and we've already gone over some of the reasons. Just make sure that the marks are in the same place in every part! At a recent rehearsal I was having a lot of trouble coming in at the right time until I discovered that a rehearsal mark in my part was one bar off from everyone else's.
Edited: October 2, 2018, 4:10 PM · Charlie Gibbs, it is very true that rehearsal marks are easier to set up than measure numbers. But you need the score to do it and the problem seems to be that the score is not forthcoming.

Of course in rehearsal measure numbers are more practical and economic than rehearsal marks.

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