Clinton NiewegJennifer Johnson  

Errata and the Orchestra Librarian

Clinton Nieweg & Jennifer Johnson
July 24, 2019

Errata list sources include MOLA2 (the errata catalog currently lists about 900 titles – ask a MOLA member to access it for you), Yahoo! Group OLI (Orchestra Librarians Information),3 Norman Del Mar's Orchestral Variations4 and the lists in the Journal of the Conductors Guild.5

Correcting errata in orchestral parts can turn into a lengthy process, and librarians’ work schedules may not allow for it. When time is a concern, it may make more sense for the librarian to correct only the rehearsal-stopping mistakes (such as wrong notes and important dynamics) or to print the lists and distribute them to the players, who in turn can fix their own parts. However it is managed, a proofed score and set of parts will save time in rehearsal and ultimately result in a better performance.

"The language of music is so complicated that there are no perfect editions.However, we strive for as much accuracy as possible in order to make rehearsals more efficient."

Clinton F. Nieweg is Principal Librarian (Ret.) of the Philadelphia Orchestra and can be reached at Jennifer A. Johnson is Assistant Principal Librarian of the Minnesota Orchestra.

1. Please note that the terms Corrected Edition and Critical Edition are not interchangeable:

  • Critical Edition is one where the editor consulted the composer's original mss or its facsimile.

  • Corrected Edition indicates that the corrections were made by using sources other than a mss.

The Kalmus publications that list an editor’s name are created in the interest of improvement. The process, however, is time-consuming. Production for just one piece can take several years, from the original proofing to re-engraving the Corrected or Critical Edition.

2. MOLA (Major Orchestra Librarians' Association) (membership required)

3. OLI (Orchestra Library Information) A members-only, moderated Yahoo! Group listserve for the librarians of smaller budget orchestras. It serves as a training forum for new performance librarians to gain knowledge from veterans in the profession.

4. Del Mar, Norman, Orchestral Variations (London: Eulenburg Books, 1981). (Out of print but can be found at used book dealers)

5. Journal of the Conductors Guild, Richmond VA. (membership required)

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