why do classical musicians need sheet music to play?

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  • why do classical musicians need sheet music to play?
  • Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    The music’s more complex, so it’s good to have it as a reference, more than likely they’ll know their own part inside out though.

    Junkyard
    Member

    you may not play for 1/3 of the piece so you need to pay attention whilst others play. I suspect they would be OK [ some minor mistakes] with well known rehearsed pieces- also watching it and pondering what % would watch both this and Lemmy.
    I can play stuff [classical guitar] I know very well without sheet music but most stuff needs the music or i get “lost” somehwere. Not sure why you are just used to it being there I suppose. It is a little like expecting an actor to be able to play any part in any shakespeare play without the plays in front of them from memory. It does not repeat like say pop music does and is more complex and often a variation on a theme so bits can be similiarish but not identical.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    I can play stuff [classical guitar]I know very well without sheet music but most stuff needs the music or i get “lost” somehwere

    This is true, I’ve about 8-10 pieces i can play without sheet music, I’ve a load of other stuff that i need the music to remember it as i dont’ play it that often.

    Suppose that also opens up, are all the member of the orchestra full time? as if not that could be another reason, that some are just session musicians, so they do need it.. When you get to the higher level of soloists etc with established repertiores, I doubt they need it at all, and will have things well practiced.. I know i’ve watched alot of classical guitarists that don’t use sheet music in performances.

    Because you may play anything from 500 hours plus of music that you might meet in a year. Not the 3 to 10 hours that most rock bands might have in their repertoire. British orchestras are renowned for their ability to sight read.

    Really great soloists might have 100 hours or so completely by heart.

    john_drummer
    Member

    I’d say they’re more likely to play different pieces at every rehearsal or concert, often at very short notice; so to learn every possible piece off-by-heart would take more than a lifetime.

    Your average musician in a band will learn relatively few pieces by comparison, but learn them completely, particularly if they’re lucky enough to be earning a crust from writing & performing their own music. Take the guys in Foo Fighters for example, 16 years, 8 albums x 13 songs per album or thereabouts = just over 100 pieces of music. And they have months or even years to learn the songs in between tours & recording

    How long are the pieces being played compared to your average soft rock ballad? As mentioned above, a few of the musicians will know their part off by heart, but I doubt they’d wish to chance it. In addition, each conductor will interpret the piece his or her own way, and so there are likely to be a great many alterations to the original sheet music for each performance.

    oldnpastit
    Member

    If you’ve got the tune you might have some chance of remembering what’s going on. But if you’re playing a harmony part, with rhythms off from the main melody, and weird key changes at odd moments, repeats thrown in, it gets pretty tricky. Plus quite often you will have pencilled-in notes about things to remember/change/whatever.

    Plus if you’re playing the trumpet part it’s important to remember whether you have 65 or 69 bars rest before you come in on top C….

    Junkyard
    Member

    no its not no one is listening to the brass section 😀

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    also classical music, whilst often based around themes, will rely upon quite extensive but related variation on those themes over the course of perhaps a 2hr piece. Pop music will more often than not be a series of short verses and choruses in repetition so the total sequence of note playing that might need recalling could be as short as 60 seconds and then repeated 3 times with a few minor variations.

    As a former chorister, I can still recall fully a number of 15-20 minute pieces note for note and word for word that I havent sung for over 20 years, but they were favourites in the repertoire. For many others Id still need the score.

    no its not no one is listening to the brass section

    As a member of “the brass section” I feel I must refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram (1971).

    😛

    Junkyard
    Member

    dont even need to google that one and a super retort 😆
    Never get caught by the swear filter with that

    tazzymtb
    Member

    it hides the fact that all players of classical are fuglywuglies of the highest order. Yes they try to trot out the odd babe with a violin, but on the whole they look like this

    Junkyard
    Member

    yes but the ladies know what we can do with out nimble fingers 8)

    john_drummer
    Member

    can’t beat the rhythm section 😉

    tazzymtb
    Member

    yes but the ladies know what we can do with out nimble fingers

    yes, be a solo virtuoso 😉

    tazzymtb
    Member

    can’t beat the rhythm section

    bassists do it deeper 8)

    racefaceec90
    Member

    as you might be able to tell,am not really into classical.just watching bbc4 at the moment (waiting for lemmy film afterwards).have wondered why do they need the sheet music to play? in other forms of music you rarely see sheet music being used live.why does classical always need to use it live?sorry to sound stupid,am just interested. 🙂

    oldnpastit
    Member

    As a former chorister, I can still recall fully a number of 15-20 minute pieces note for note and word for word that I havent sung for over 20 years, but they were favourites in the repertoire. For many others Id still need the score.

    Hummel Trumpet Concerto. The brain cells that hold that will still recall it for several minutes after I’m pronounced clinically dead in some awful retirement home in fifty years time.

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