Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines

Advanced Rudiments Lesson Plans

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines - Open Score

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines are a concept that many students struggle with. To add the bar line all the way through the score or NOT to add the bar line all the way through the score... that is the question!

In Advanced Rudiments, students are introduced to Modern Vocal Score (Page 113). Unless you have sung in a choir, there is a good chance that you have never seen Modern Vocal Score.

So here are some Ultimate Music Theory Tips to remember how to write Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines - with and without lyrics - in Open and in Short Score.

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines - Open Score

Modern Vocal Score is written for four voices - Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass.

Open Score is also called Full Score. Open Score is written using 4 staves - each voice has its own staff. Starting at the top (with the highest voice) and going down (to the lowest voice):

  • The Soprano Voice is written in the Treble Staff
  • The Alto Voice is written in the Treble Staff
  • The Tenor Voice is written in the Treble Staff with an "8" underneath (to indicate that it is written one octave higher than it sounds)
  • The Bass Voice is written in the Bass Staff

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines - Open Score - With Lyrics

In Open Score for Modern Vocal Score, lyrics (the words) are written below each staff line. The lyrics will line up with the melody and rhythm of the voice that is singing them.

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines in Open Position with Lyrics

When there are lyrics included in the Score, the Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines are written on each individual staff (and not completely through the Open Score). This allows for the words to be read (sung) without being hindered by the bar lines.

The Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines will line up evenly vertically, as will each beat. This is very important, and it definitely makes a conductor's job easier.

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines - Open Score - No Lyrics Included

There are times when words (lyrics) are not included in an excerpt of Modern Vocal Score. There are 2 options for Modern Vocal Bar Lines when the lyrics are not included:

Option #1: (Recommended) The Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines are written on each individual staff (and not completely through the Open Score).

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines in Open Position without Lyrics

Option #2: (Acceptable) The Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines are written from the top of the highest Treble Staff straight through to the bottom line of the Bass Staff (as shown in the above example).

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines - Short Score

Short Score is also known as Keyboard Score, Condensed Score and Close Score. In Short Score, there are only 2 staves - the Treble Staff (on top) and the Bass Staff (on bottom).

  • The notes for the Soprano Voice are written stems up in the Treble Staff.
  • The notes for the Alto Voice are written stems down in the Treble Staff.
  • The notes for the Tenor Voice are written stems up in the Bass Staff.
  • The notes for the Bass Voice are written stems down in the Bass Staff.

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines - Short Score - With Lyrics

In Short Score, the lyrics are written in the middle of the Grand Staff. Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines are written on each individual staff (and not completely through the Grand Staff).

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines in Close Position with Lyrics

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines - Short Score - No Lyrics Included

There are times when words (lyrics) are not included in an excerpt of Modern Vocal Score. There are 2 options for Modern Vocal Bar Lines when the lyrics are not included:

Option #1: (Recommended) The Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines are written on each individual staff (and not completely through the Grand Staff).

Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines in Close Position Without Lyrics

Option #2: (Acceptable) The Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines are written from the top of the Treble Staff straight through to the bottom line of the Bass Staff (as shown in the above example).

Play these examples with your student. Have them play the Soprano Voice with their Right Hand and the Alto Voice with their Left Hand. Then you play the Tenor Voice with your Right Hand and the Bass Voice with your Left Hand.

Ultimate Music Theory Student PackWhen drawing Modern Vocal Score Bar Lines, use your UMT Ruler.

This ruler clips in to the Workbook (and the Answer Book). It is clear, so you can see the music underneath the ruler.

Do you have students who are ready to start Advanced Rudiments? Get them the Advanced Music Theory Student Pack - it contains everything that your Advanced Theory Student will need.

This must-have Advanced Music Theory student pack contains one:

Workbook (9 X 12) coil bound - includes 80 Free Flashcards

Small Whiteboard (11 x 16) - dry-erase marker and dry-eraser

Keyboard/Circle of Fifths Ruler - clips inside the workbook

Tote Bag (18 x 14) - Perfect size for your Workbook, Flashcards, Whiteboard, Ruler and more!

P.S. If you are preparing for the Advanced Rudiments Exam - be sure to get the Advanced Rudiments Exam Pack too!

UMC-ETT-3D

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Keep on Learning... With a Smile and a Song!

Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren

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