Publishers use a lot of words to describe what they sell, and we know it can be confusing. We've tried to be as clear as possible to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Below are descriptions of the terms that we use to describe the various formats that music often comes in.
Choral Score A score for vocalists that only contains the vocal lines. The instrumental parts are not there for reference. Generally, cheaper than a vocal score and requires multiple copies for purchase.
Facsimile of the Autograph These are hardcover, research-quality reproductions of the original hand-written scores from the composer.
Hardcover Some publishers print a hardbound, linen-covered version in addition to the standard paperback. The music inside is identical. These editions are beautiful though rarely cheap.
Orchestral Parts Similar to a wind set, this is a collection of parts. In the case of strings, the numbers listed are the number of copies included, though generally these are available individually (often with minimum quantities required).
Paperback When publishers offer multiple bindings (e.g. hardcover) or study scores, this is the "standard" version. If you're planning to play the music, this is probably what you want.
Performance / Playing Score For chamber pieces, playing scores have all of the parts on one system. There are not separate parts for each player.
Score (Full Score) For ensemble music, this indicates that the edition contains all parts on a single system (there are not separate parts for each player). In larger ensembles, this is for the conductor.
Set of Parts For ensemble music, this indicates that there are separate parts for each player.
Solo Part with Piano Reduction For solo pieces with orchestra, this is a version that contains a piano reduction of the orchestra parts. For piano pieces, two copies are typically needed for performance.
Study Score A small (think choral size) copy of the complete score meant for studying, and not playing. They make great add-ons when learning concertos and small chamber works.
VocalScore A score prepared for vocalists that includes the piano/organ part or a reduction of the instrumental parts.
Wind Set For orchestral music, this is a collection of wind and percussion parts. The specific quantities of each instrument are notated.
With Audio In addition to the printed music, the edition contains recordings of the pieces. This may be an included CD, or access to files on the internet.
With / Without Fingering (Markings) Some publishers prepare two copies - a pure Urtext edition that includes no fingering (or bowing) suggestions and a lightly edited version that includes a minimal number of editorial markings.
Instrumentation: String Quintet (Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello I, Cello II)
Work: String Quintet in C Major, G 361, Op. 46, No. 3
Size: 8.1 x 11.8 inches
This string quintet, written in 1793, is arranged for either two cellos and one viola, or two violas and one cello (all parts are provided). It is tuneful and straightforward, and suitable for players who are not yet at the standard required to play the Schubert, Dvořák or Brahms quintets. Luigi Rodolfo Boccherini was born in Italy in 1743 and died there in 1805. Between 1770 and 1800 he wrote over 100 string quintets for 2 violins, viola and 2 cellos, (he was a cellist as well as a composer) - an astonishingly prolific output. Most of these works were published in Paris during his lifetime.