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I am doing final edits on my collection of 5 solo pieces for vibraphone.  The music is written, not improvised, so I have notes, chord symbols, tempo markings, tempo alterations, and many other expressive text markings in the pieces.

My editor is pointing out one item she says I should fix.  My positioning of tempo marks and chord symbols is inconsistent as in the following:

Is there any standard for this?  My editor thinks it should be consistent throughout all 5 pieces and I agree.

There are examples of tempo marks and chord symbols at the beginning of tunes in the New Real Book's.  However, they are all at the beginning of the tune and being jazz tunes they don't change tempo in various places in the tune.  There are many places where I have beams of high notes in the right hand where the chord symbol is moved up quite a bit to make room for the beams and between the beams, chord symbol, and tempo mark it takes up a lot of space.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks, Jerry


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Is there any standard for this?  My editor thinks it should be consistent throughout all 5 pieces and I agree.


A reasonable request. Why isn't the editor just telling you how it should be? In any case, for most publishing houses these days, questions like this are often resolved by asking WWEGD (What Would Elaine Gould Do)? 

I like the Google Play edition of the Gould since it can be searched, a big plus. In addition, it just sits there in a browser tab and I can take screenshots letting her give you the correct advice. 


As you will see, Tempo Markings are words. A note followed by a number is properly called a Metronome Marking. Anyway, when I searched my copy, I found that she devotes three pages to Tempo Indications (pgs 201–203). I'm not going to paste all three pages but these three paragraphs should answer the question.





I suppose my real question is this: Why didn't your editor look this up and give you the proper guidance? I'm happy to help but this is part of an editor's job.

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Thank you for your response.  Your are correct on the terminology - for some reason all of my Metronome Markings are on the "Tempo Marks" category page in my Expressions Selection dialogue box so I didn't really think about it.  However, that could be one of the reasons I found no information on the web in general. :-)

That said, I appreciate the link and will definitely use that as a resource in the future.  I think the first two sentences you show say it all.  Last night I went ahead and decided to do the same in my scores and finished most of the work.  So, the metronome markings are above the chord symbol.

As for the editor, she is my wife so that's important.  We both searched the internet for a relevant example like the ones I inserted in the original question and couldn't find one so she wasn't sure either.

Thanks much, Jerry

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Hey, Jerry,


Glad I was able to help. I am my wife's music editor so I get where you are coming from.


The Gould is the modern bible on these issue though there is much of modern notation (jazz etc.) that she doesn't cover in 704 pages. Musicians have been requesting a sequel since it was first published in 2011 but she announced her retirement a few weeks ago effective September. 


Part I (pgs 1–245) is being published separately at the end of this month at a lower price but I can't really recommend that to anyone here. Score Layout and Part Preparation are in Part III and most of us should be familiar with that, too.


My hardcover copy of Behind Bars… has been gathering dust on a shelf since I discovered the searchable version on GooglePlay. It didn't take me 10 seconds to find what I needed.

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