The pit in The Kiss of the Spider Woman has four violas in it on two books, with some violin-range stuff in it. The violists are supposed to double on violin in the. From first glance (at the Viola I part), the doubling looks potentially complicated because of the random divisi and clef changes.

Looking in the second viola book, however, provided grand enlightenment and insight into the magic world of Broadway part-writing – if the parts were not exactly identical between books, they were rhythmically in unison and creating a complete chord – while all this is wonderfully simple and uncomplicated for a person staffing a pit, why didn’t the publisher just SAY that in the first place? Why say Viola I and II, when you can just photocopy the book? There are two numbers that are slightly different, either because of the aforementioned reason or because there have been parts actually cut out, but that’s what solo/gli altri writing is for. Right? Right?

The other hilarious thing about the second viola book were the note names written above the notes (especially at the very end, in the bows and exit music.) As a violinist who experiences chronic dumbfoundedness with the clef, part of me relates to it, but part of me also wonders why – Why would you do that to yourself if you weren’t confident about your clef-reading skills?

The majority of crazy doubling situations, from what I’ve seen, are in the woodwind section –
From bretpimentel.com, who has an awesome table (and LIST!!) of Broadway woodwind doublings, the one that stuck out to me the most was ‘Flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, baritone saxophone’, found in 11 of the books on his list. The thought of someone carrying all that stuff to a gig makes me crack up.

Anyway, aside from my day job, Wanatachi is awesome! Come to the show tonight at 7PM, Dixon Place, $15!

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