“Simile” Mark in Film Scoring

When you’re writing a score sheet, especially when for a film score, rather prefer to use the word “simile” or “sim.” (meaning “in the same way”) where you can instead of articulating/marking everything. This has a massively practical reason for sight reading. If you for example have a long section where a string section is supposed to play staccato 8th notes ostinatos, marking the first bar with staccato dots and use “sim.” on the next bars without any more articulations is easier to read than having staccato dots on every note in that passage.

The reason for that is, that your player would need to look way closer at every note when you use the dots because there could be the theoretic possibility that suddenly there’s one note without the staccato dot or a different articulation. When using “sim.” the player knows exactly that it should continue in staccato and needs to only read the notes properly.

In more extreme examples the overload of repeating articulations can cause real problems in sight reading as it might just ask too much of your players to process at the same time. On the other hand “simile” helps to unclutter the score sheet which is always a great thing on sight reading scores.

Many people have the feeling that using “simile” is an excuse for lazyness but actually it helps alot when used properly.

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