SCA Score Submission Guidelines
Please read the following requirements carefully. When your score is ready, email it in PDF format to , Include your name and preferred pronouns, and a link to a recording of your song (optional), then visit this page to remit the small fee for your score's review and feedback. Submissions are due on April 11th. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Setting Up Your Score
- Score should be 11x17
- Make sure the individual parts are sized for 8.5 x 11 paper
- Do not create a title page. Paper = money!
Measure Numbering And Rehearsal Letters
- Measure numbers should be stated at the start of every system, at the top, in italic, at a point size that's readable. It is not necessary to number every bar or number every 5 or 10 bars.
- Rehearsal letters may be used for longer pieces.
- Numbering each measure should be avoided, except in the case of multi-measure rests, where measure number ranges are helpful (e.g., “27–117”) or in larger scores, in which each measure may include a measure number at the top (or less likely, the bottom) of the score.
- There are two basic styles of fonts used for music text—page numbers, headers, front matter, technical indications, etc.: serif (i.e., Times New Roman, Plantin, Times, Garamond, Goudy, or Caslon, etc.), or sans serif (i.e., Helvetica, Futura, Optima, Gill Sans, etc.). Serif fonts are generally more common. Whichever font you use, that same font style and family should be used throughout your entire piece; never use both Plantin and Times New Roman, for example. It is always best to use as few fonts as possible, but different styles within a font family (plain, bold, italic, wide or narrow versions of the same font) are perfectly acceptable, when appropriate. For the sake of consistency, Times New Roman will be suggested below.
- Tempo indications (above the staff): Times New Roman, bold, 14 pt.
- Tempo alterations (like rit. and accel.): Times New Roman, either italic or bold, 14 pt.
- Title, composer, lyricist. These are usually a serif font, like Times New Roman. Sizes may vary depending on house style, but the default sizes in programs like Sibelius are perfectly acceptable.
- Page numbers on large-format scores, i.e., 11 x 14 or 11 x 17: Times New Roman, plain, 12 pt. so that they are visible when printed as smaller study scores.
- Technique text (above the staff): Times New Roman, plain, same font as tempo indications.
- Expression text (below or above the staff): Times New Roman, italic.
Specific Instruments Comments
- Please submit works for two violins, viola and cello only
- Please be aware of the limitations of each instrument – string players will not ‘detune’ their instruments (standard tuning ONLY). In addition, please follow basic quartet arranging guidelines. See the orchestration and arranging guidance links at the bottom of this lis
- Pizzicato is fun, but it’s a rookie mistake to use it too much
- Instead, try just putting articulations on notes (e.g. dots, lines, ^, > ) to indicate short notes with various types of attacks
- Avoid multiple large leaps (e.g. 8ve or more) in a row
- Try to stay roughly in the range of each instrument
- Very high notes on low instruments can be very effective, but use sparingly. Cellos and Violas playing in non-standard clefs is a sure way to have them hate you.
- DO NOT write music that is out of the range of an instrument.
- Avoid, or use double stops sparingly for ease of performing the parts for the players.
- Avoid col legno – most string players detest beating their expensive instruments.
- Extended techniques are acceptable, but please be clear about what you specifically want from each part – audio examples are helpful in this guidance. If the extended technique is too complicated to explain or have performed, the quartet players reserve the right to not perform that part.
Formatting Your Score
- All done with your score? Now do everything you can to cram it into as few pages as possible, while still being readable.
- Your first page should have staves for every instrument, regardless if they play or have rests. For the remainder of the score, make sure that you “Hide Empty Staves” so only the instruments that are actively playing are shown.
- If there are sections where the ensemble isn’t playing at all, it saves paper and is easier to read if you use multirests.
Formatting the Individual Parts
- Try to cram each part onto one page while still being readable. If that just isn’t working, use two pages and spread the part over the whole two pages. Very rarely should a part need 3 pages. If there is a page that only has a few measures on it and is mostly empty, the tree gods will bring their vengeance upon you.
- Use multirests
The only acceptable file formats are:
- For the score & parts: .pdf
- For (optional) audio recordings: .mp3 or .m4a
All suggested resources are in English; books link to Amazon.
Orchestration & Instrumentation Books
- The Study of Orchestration by Samuel Adler
- Instrumentation and Orchestration by Alfred Blatter
- Technique of Orchestration by Kent Kennan
- Principles of Orchestration by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
- Handbook of Instrumentation by Andrew Stiller
Instrumentation Books: Specific Instruments And Extended Techniques
- The Contemporary Violin: ExtENDed Performance Techniques by Patricia Strange
- Behind Bars by Elaine Gould
- Music Notation by Gardner Read
- Music Notation in the Twentieth Century by Kurt Stone
Music Software And Plugins