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Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation Hardcover – Jan 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 676 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred Publishing Co (Jan. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571514561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571514564
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 17 x 4.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #227,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good reference. The only disappointing aspect is the index, which, contrary to the book's contents, is not very expansive.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
As the subtitle says, it's the definitive guide to music notation July 4 2011
By Joseph - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Behind Bars is the Bible of music notation for fully notated music, be it band, choral, orchestral, or experimental. It doesn't address lead sheets or other pop notation, so songwriters, jazz, and popular musicians may not find it as useful, but for its target audience--composers, arrangers, orchestrators, and the like--it is an invaluable resource. Think of it as the Chicago Manual of Style for music. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Truly a milestone in the history of music notation Oct. 30 2011
By PianoGuyFromSC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This huge (650-page) volume is a must addition to the library of anyone who is seriously involved in writing or editing published music. It covers virtually every conceivable notational dilemma, including writing for specific instrument groups, and the proper layout of scores. The author has decades of experience and it shows, but she is not pedantic and has a sense of humor (as the title might indicate). The book is loaded with musical examples as well as descriptive text.

If you are not a music professional, do NOT spend 100 dollars on this book. There are plenty of simple volumes that will give you the basics of notation for most purposes. But as an editor for a music publisher, I consider it well worth the money and will keep it close to my desk along with my dictionary and orchestration manuals!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent resource for classical, jazz, band, and some electronic composers Dec 23 2011
By Chris Sahar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is comprehensive and updated. Excellent as my title says for classical, jazz, band, and some electronic compositions. For music editors fantastic. I should say it is good for pop IF it is piano accompaniment with lyrics or a band with singer (not using lead sheets).

As one reviewer wrote do not spend the money if you do not write orchestral or large band music. If your medium of composition is piano, chamber works, writing lead sheets, or straightforward choral works, Sibelius notation software offers INDIRECTLY through its instruction manual good thorough basics on notation. If you want a direct manual Dover has issued a Norton Guide to notation.

But if you are a composer who write or intends to write for large forces or works with a great deal of chromaticism, meter changes, use of more complex rhythms, and some extended techniques, PLEASE get this book. A tidy, well-laid out score will significantly increase your chances performers will review your arrangements and/or compositions. I guarantee that they will play it better than if you present a carelessly prepared score.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Stunning, Absolutely Stunning. Nov. 11 2012
By Stephen Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Gould, Elaine. Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation. London: Faber Music Ltd, 2011.


- Stunning, absolutely stunning. It continues the fine work of Kurt Stone's Music Notation in the 20th Century: A Practical Guidebook. New York: W.W. Norton, 1980. However it is greatly enlarged and much more thorough - an indispensable companion to anyone who notates music whether pencil to paper or using Sibelius 7 (with its reference book, also highly recommended) - it doesn't matter, when in doubt, Behind Bars is the 'go to' book. It's all here, every aspect of notation is covered in 704 glorious pages supported by 1,500 music examples of published scores from Bach to Xenakis.

Stephen Brown, Music Theory Book Reviews. stephenbrown.ca
Must-have for serious composers July 15 2014
By Elison Deep - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best and most detailed book for contemporary and general classical music notation that I have seen. I've also used the Gardner Read book which was terrible and didn't have the answers to any of the questions I had. If you are a composer, you need to have this book!

However, if you are poor, I suggest you consult the following free online guides: Indiana Notation Style Guide, Yale School of Music MOLA Guidelines.

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