On Marking Cuts…

There is no “right way” to mark a cut, but there are wrong ones. If the cut is marked and the pianist understands it, then it’s probably ok. I’ll tell you what is a problem though, not marking anything and just telling the pianist that after they play that 3 pages of Guettel that they have to turn four pages and play the last half of the 8th page and then then cut to the last 12 bars… and not marking it. I assure you, they will forget and it will be a train wreck.

Set yourself up for success.

Mark your cuts with bold pencil marks, or cut and paste and make an arts and crafts project out of it.

Here’s a picture of a well-marked cut spot: (GASP How could you cut DEH?!? easy…)


Block out the section you are not singing:


Mark where the pianist should cut to:


It’s not brain surgery. It really isn’t, but you have to do the work. If you’re worried about cutting a section that you love and will want to sing again someday then print a second copy. Trust me, prepping the music is worth the effort and cost of a second print. If you’re using an iPad, most software (at least the apps you should be using [hold for future post about iPads]) have features to write on the music or white out sections you aren’t using.

Again, you can copy cut and paste the music physically to make it a one page moment instead of having two half pages (I saw this in a girl’s book and I think it’s an example that any pianist could read) :


Just make sure it’s neat and makes sense musically. Have a pianist or musician look at the cut and see that it makes musical sense and would be an easy transition.

Make sure there are no key changes that happened in the cut material. If you want the cut to work so badly but there is a key change in the middle, then buy the music in a lower/higher key (depending on the key change…is it up or down?) so that the section you’re cutting to is in the same key as the section you’re cutting from. Again, ask a musician friend to help you with this if you need to! No shame in properly cut music!



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