Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Conductors’ annotations have a different nature and goal from those of orchestral musicians.

The purpose of this study is to obtain a better understanding of the process of conductors’ annotations based on examined scores[1]collected from professional conductors and supported by a questionnaire answered by twenty-seven participants.

Certain questions provided a better understanding of the elements used in conductors’ annotations. For example: Why do some conductors prefer to use symbols, words, numbers, or colors? What kind of annotations are more suitable to specific repertories? Why are reinforcement markings, although redundant, so popular among conductors and why do some conductors consider the score as a document that should not be modified under any circumstances?

Analysis of the scores as well as the questionnaire responses show some similarities among conductors’ annotated scores and orchestra musicians’ annotations. However, the utility and nature of the conductors’ annotations are so unique that they resulted in a different outcome from the research of musicians’ annotations used as a reference for this research.

Despite the similarities among conductors’ annotations, the study found no clearly defined or standardized process. Rather, the findings include individual solutions annotated by conductors to make the music more readable and to provide a unique, personal specific analysis in order to achieve a better understanding of the piece.

Further research emphasizing the annotation process of world-renowned conductors and their practices across an array of works and musical styles should be undertaken as a means of determining their individual approaches to the art and craft of conducting.

[1]This study used Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no 5, in E minor, Op.64 as reference instead of an open choice so that some aspects of the analysis could only be compared to the same musical content. However, some conductors sent an annotated score of other work, which the author accepted considering that the focus of this research was the annotations rather than the music itself.



Committee Chair

Riazuelo, Carlos