Tuto & Conseils

Sight-reading : the CNSM makes available more than 2,000 scores

Lecture à vue : le CNSM met à disposition plus de 2.000 partitions
The media library of the Paris Conservatory has recently added to its site a section dedicated to one of the flagship disciplines of the Conservatory: sight-reading.

A very old discipline

Sight-reading consists of playing or singing a score instantly, without preparation. Specificity of French teaching, it concerns all instrumental disciplines.

At the Paris Conservatory, the sight-reading test at the end of year exams has existed since the institution was founded in the 18th century. At the end of the 19th century, this test was also introduced for the entrance exams. In most cases, the sight-reading piece is specially commissioned for the test from a composer, sometimes a professor at the Conservatory; more rarely, the piece may be taken from the repertoire. Until very recently, texts were handwritten, written directly by their authors. For the sake of legibility, for competitions and exams, handwritten copies were made by copyists. In the middle of the 20th century, documents began to be typed or printed.


A free availability

In a new section of its online media library, the CNSM offers more than 2,000 scores given to students of the Paris Conservatory for competitions and exams (admission, control and exit) since the first half of the 19th century.

This achievement is the culmination of an ambitious digitization program initiated by the Paris Conservatory several years ago. For texts prior to 1925, this restitution was more particularly the subject of a research program financed by the National Research Agency in collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the National Archives and the Ecole pratique des hautes études.

The interface allows users to search for documents by discipline, author or year.

Have a nice study session !