When musicians are given loose sheets of music, printed one-sided on translucent paper, they can’t help but think (consciously or not) that the music thereon is similarly slapdash. When it involves putting your music on paper, presentation plays a giant part in perception, and it’s relatively easy to manage: your main paper variables are weight, color, and size.
Perhaps the foremost important element is that the paper’s weight. Lightweight paper suggests that its transparent nature is clearly unsuited for two-sided printing and the contents are disposable. It is more likely to be blown off the stand when someone walks by or opens a door, is also less durable, and can produce noisy page turns. But you’ll be able to go too heavy – card stock also will produce unfavorable reactions.
The Major Orchestra Librarians Association (MOLA) provides guidelines that not only suggest what should persist the page, but what you must use for the page, too. It’s a good, free resource you’ll be able to download here; ensure you get the 2017 revision. This document recommends 60-70 lb paper.
While I would think that 70 lb. “text” paper is ideal, I suggest that, if in any respect possible, you are trying to touch some paper and make your decision by feel. Note that 70 lb. “index” are some things different, as is 70 lb. “bond” and 70 lb. “cover” All three of those terms discuss with heavier cardstock, so always confirm you’re staring at text weights.
While color could also be the smallest amount critical aspect, it does have control and may be considered. Other forms of music that can be done by hand, including Jazz and commercial music, were nearly always done on buff or cream-colored paper. Accordingly, music created for these same genres today will likely be best received when it’s the identical color – especially when working with players mature enough to recall buying buff manuscript paper from places like Judy Green.
While concert and other music that was traditionally engraved was most frequently found on reports, some might still argue that anything but white can be a bit easier on the eyes.
3. Page Size
Choral music is commonly printed octavo size, 6.75 x 10.5.″ This size, and heavier paper, can both help minimize the sound of page turns, especially important in larger choirs.
My goal isn’t to inform you what size you must use, but simply to suggest that there are alternatives to eight.5 x 11.″ When unsure, you may look to musicians who perform the sort of music you’re creating to determine what’s on the exchange in front of them.
4. Combining Pages
As long as none of your pieces transcend a page or two, we’re done talking about paper. However, printing to larger, better paper, but providing loose individual sheets is like dropping the ball some inches from the goal when multiple pages are involved.
Printing two-up on larger paper is the first step here. So if you’ve selected 9 x 12″ pages, you’d have to print two-up on 12 x 18″ paper (We’ll speak about printing in a very minute). This starts to urge involved once you attempt to assemble the resulting pages to a booklet because you will, for instance, pages 4 and page 1 to print on one side of the sheet and pages 2 and three to print on the opposite. Printing your pages 2-up, double-sided (perhaps requiring you to flip and re-insert pages) can get tricky, irrespective of whether you’re using music notation software or a data processing application.
5. Where to Search out Paper
For more common page sizes, local paper stores traditionally offered a spread of precut paper options available. You’ll still be ready to pick and choose among different paper types when buying 12 x 18″ pages. Increasingly, however, it’s becoming difficult to avoid ordering a paper online. Easy-to-remember options include Quill and Staples.
6. Printers and Printing
What if you just learned that your printer won’t accept anything larger than legal? One option may be a new printer. If you don’t print in big volumes, an inkjet printer may well be perfect. They will be purchased very inexpensively – even for big page formats. The downside is that the cost of ink.
Laser printers, which use toner cartridges, are way more expensive to buy, but cheaper to use. They’re also faster and capable of upper-resolution output. Hey, if money is not an object, buy an oversized format electrostatic printer and supply a duplexer to eliminate guessing and hand flipping when printing on either side of the page. For the remainder folks, an oversized format inkjet printer can produce some very impressive results.
Need an area to start? select some 12 x 18″ sheets of 70 lb. paper and print two pages on that – just provide it a try. That said, paper alone doesn’t guarantee a touchdown. A couple of years back, my Broadway copyist Peter, who is also my friend, told an anecdote where some “fancy” music was placed on a sub front of a veteran studio musician, who commented: “It looks great. But sadly it’s in the wrong key.”