Instrument name change: which case?


Condensed scores and particells require an indication of which instrument or type of instrument is playing a note or phrase. When that instrument plays something, you write “Flute”, “flute”, “Fl.”, “fl.”, “W.w”, “w.w.”, “Str.” or “str.” in the score.

Gould shows example with both all lowercase indications (fl., strings, w.w.…), but also reports examples from the classics with capitalized names (Archi, Cl.basso…). I’m personally inclined to capitalize words in my handwritten sketches, to avoid these indications to be confused with technical instructions (espressivo, marcato, sul pont.…).

For an expression map I’m working on, I’m using a mixed strategy: using capitalized for top-categories (Strings, Woodwinds, Brass…), and all lowercase, abbreviated, for solo instruments or separate sections (fl., vlns., cellos, vlas.…).

How would you do? All lowercase, or capitalized?