Improving Music Reading

Choral octavos vary by publisher.  Some SATB scores are written with each part on a separate stave and others have the soprano/alto and tenor/bass parts sharing one stave.  All of these inconsistencies can be very confusing to middle school students when it comes to reading comprehension.  Fortunately, technlogy has made it possible to improve readability of these scores.

Example 1: This is a typical SATB score written on 2 staves, which is challenging to read.  Words are in the middle so each part must look below or above the part to see the text. The piano is the only sound, requiring the listener to know his or her part since they all blend together.

Example 2: In this example, parts are separate onto 4 staves, so that each part can read only the notes it needs with text below.  Readibility is easier. In addition, voicing each part with a different instrument helps the student differentiate hearing his or her part. 

Three different types of software facilitate making choral octavos come to life with technology.

1. SmartScore-scanning software that takes an image of the music.

2. Finale-notation software that imports the document that was scanned.

3. Snagit-the screencast software I used to make these examples. 

There are other kinds of software which develop music reading skills, including Soft Mozart