Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Plates, sheets, pens, ink, pencils, paper; the tools and techniques of analogue notation.
RMK
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper

Post by RMK »

Not to mention librarians...

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T Earl
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by T Earl »

Hey guys, I've broadened the topic of this thread a little. I'm interested in seeing what pens and other copying materials you guys use?

For neat handwritten copying of scores/parts, I tend to use my Rotring Rapidograph set, which are really nice and fine for bar lines, stems etc. Have any of you used these pens, if so what do you think of them and do you use any other pens for the job?

I also tend to use a stencil for time signatures and bits of writing that need to be nice, clear and uniform.

Let's paint some pictures in our minds of your desks/working spaces when you're in the midst of composing!
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David Ward
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by David Ward »

T Earl wrote:… … For neat handwritten copying of scores/parts, I tend to use my Rotring Rapidograph set, which are really nice and fine for bar lines, stems etc. Have any of you used these pens, if so what do you think of them and do you use any other pens for the job? … …
The score I uploaded as a scanned page here viewtopic.php?f=2&t=98&p=1411#p1411 from the 1970s was probably written with the very pens, Rotring and Osmiroid, in the uploaded photograph (which I've just now taken). I used Rotring black, water based drawing ink. The Rotring nibs may still be the original ones from the 1970s, but the Osmiroid 'music nib' (red pen) will have been replaced many times between then and 2001, which is when I stopped writing ink fair copies, even for parts (replacing that with Finale). My last ink full score was almost two decades earlier.

Now all my manuscript work (composition scores, but not definitive parts) is with 3B Staedtler 'Tradition' pencil. I sharpen at least 24 before each session, sometimes more.
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MikeHalloran
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by MikeHalloran »

Back when I was able to do manual notation, the Shaeffer italic point fountain pen was my go-to.
https://www.sheaffer.com/en/departments ... alligraphy Not liking cartridges, I used a piston converter. https://www.sheaffer.com/en/departments ... rdid=96700

I discovered these as a kid in Catholic School (fountain pens and ink were required from 4th grade on). The italic point forced me to maintain the correct angle and write legibly. Years later, I saw them mentioned by Heussenstamm in the Norton Manual and was a little surprised he was recommending something that pedestrian. Until my dominant arm became disabled nine years ago, I used these for normal correspondence.

I still find boxes of these in various places around my office.

dtoub
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by dtoub »

In the 70's and until the early 90's, I used a Pelikan fountain pen, and electric eraser, Aztec transparency paper and a few other minor accoutrements to notate my scores by hand, which would then be printed at my expense at a place on W. 54th street just across from Studio 54. Even ran into William Bolcom there one day (who politely, and oddly, said he'd heard of me, which was clearly nonsensical since I was a bio sci major at the University of Chicago at that point and no one had ever heard of me, LOL).

But then I got into Finale and have not actually hand-notated anything since Finale 3.2. There are definitely some things that were nice about writing things out-it was easy to notate things however you wanted. On the other hand, it was absolutely miserable to do. I spent hours late at night while I was a teenager and then an adult, and mistakes had to be removed with that electric eraser and unless i spent more money on a better version of the Aztec paper, it inevitably caused holes in the transparency paper. I remember that the paper that came with a blue cover was the cheaper version, and was only intended to last a few years, whereas the more pricey version came with a yellow paper cover and not only lasted longer but also was less prone to holes when erasing my inevitable mistakes.

I wouldn't go back to that for all the $ the average billionaire spends on himself rather than his exploited employees.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by John Ruggero »

During the 1970s, most of the copyists who worked for Arnold Arnstein used, believe it or, not an automatic pen, but a simple holder armed with a very specific pen point, the Esterbrook 312 "Judge's Quill", which was the perfect pen point for music copying. It had with a long flexible tip and one dipped it into a ink pot, like a character in Dickens:

https://theesterbrookproject.com/NIB%20 ... QUILL.html

However, a problem arose when Esterbrook stopped making this point; apparently no one was buying it except us! Arnstein considered buying the die and making his own, but then one of the copyists discovered a cashe in a old stationary store in the midwest, I believe. Was he relieved. There were enough there to keep us all in pen points for the duration, which turned out to not be as long as we anticipated.

We used transparent paper that Arnstein had made specially for him that had staff lines on both sides of the page so that if the electric eraser erased the staff on one side, the lines remained solid on the other and no imperfection was observed when the page was run through the blueprint machine. The only other equipment used was a simple 12" wooden ruler for drawing the beams and bar lines (stems were drawn by hand) and a flexible curve for drawing long and complex slurs. With that simple equipment and a membership in Local 802 of the Musicians Union, one could make a very good living as a music copyist in NYC.
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OCTO
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by OCTO »

John Ruggero wrote:
02 Feb 2022, 19:32
During the 1970s, most of the copyists who worked for Arnold Arnstein used, believe it or, not an automatic pen, but a simple holder armed with a very specific pen point, the Esterbrook 312 "Judge's Quill", which was the perfect pen point for music copying. It had with a long flexible tip and one dipped it into a ink pot, like a character in Dickens:

https://theesterbrookproject.com/NIB%20 ... QUILL.html
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RMK
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by RMK »

John Ruggero wrote:
02 Feb 2022, 19:32
During the 1970s, most of the copyists who worked for Arnold Arnstein used, believe it or, not an automatic pen, but a simple holder armed with a very specific pen point, the Esterbrook 312 "Judge's Quill", which was the perfect pen point for music copying. It had with a long flexible tip and one dipped it into a ink pot, like a character in Dickens:
I still have mine!

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John Ruggero
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by John Ruggero »

So do I. Somewhere.
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Fred G. Unn
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Re: Let's talk Manuscript Paper, Pens and other copying materials

Post by Fred G. Unn »

dtoub wrote:
29 Jan 2022, 19:51
In the 70's and until the early 90's, I used a Pelikan fountain pen, and electric eraser, Aztec transparency paper and a few other minor accoutrements to notate my scores by hand,
I still have my Pelikan Graphos, some Z1 nibs and some Aztec ink, although I haven't touched any of this in years.
Image

If you're still in NYC, there are maybe 20 of us composers/arrangers/copyists that use custom 9.5"x12.5" paper that is essentially the same color, size, weight, and smoothness as the Aztec manuscript paper Judy Haring used to sell at Associated. If you're interested in going in on the next bulk order, shoot me a PM. (It's way too heavy to mail for anyone outside NYC, just contact a local supplier) Single sheets, off-white, comes in boxes of 2000 sheets.

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