Marking the score

John McCreary

John McCreary was my immediate predecessor at Iolani School.

In my last post, I told you that I’m playing in the Iolani School Spring Concert next Friday, and as such, I’m playing from the same musical scores that my predecessor, John McCreary, played from.

For you non-musicians, we often make marks in the music to give ourselves “reminders” on playing the piece. Often it is as simple as circling a particular note, which draws attention to a possible note which may be missed (played WRONG!) in a difficult passage or where mistakes have been made. Just the act of circling the note or notes can fix places in the music which have gone astray in the past. Sometimes we mark what we call a “cautionary” accidental, adding a sharp or a flat as a reminder that all notes following are to be sharped or flatted (raised or lowered), or I’ll draw a huge natural, as John did below.

Don't forget that this is E-natural! (you ninny!)

Hey, this is E-natural! (you ninny!)

Other times, it is writing out the beats in the measure underneath the notes, for example, 1 – 2 – 3 – 4, etc. especially when there are changing meters (like changing from 2/4 [two beats per measure] or 3/4 [three beats per measure]). I was glad to see that John McCreary wrote out the counts frequently in the Rutter Requiem score, because it saves me from doing the same! In addition to seeing the visual reminder of the beat count, I also sometimes count silently and make myself whisper the beats: “one and two and three and four and” as I’m playing.

Here's John's reminder to COUNT!

See the numbers 1-2-3, 1-2-3? John reminded himself to COUNT!

Other times, I write in stylistic or tempo descriptions, such as “More grand” or “Not so fast” or “Playful,” or some characteristic which indicates how the music is to be played. Look how John spelled “slow” below:


The “McCreary French” spelling of ‘slow’ !

And this is my favorite!

Don't forget to count, you ninny!

Don’t forget to count, you ninny!

Thanks, John, for the laughs!


About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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3 Responses to Marking the score

  1. Katherine, I was hunting for some McCreary moments and found yours. Hilarious. If you don’t mind, I’d like to link to this from the WCS blog as part of our buildup to the 2016 Joy of Music fundraiser and presentation of the award that bears his name.

    Lignographite manual display generator…his daughter Susie making SURE that lives on.


  2. Pingback: Windward Notes – Joy of the Month (How Slow is Sleaux?) - The Windward Choral Society

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