The Unbelievable History of Music Printing – Part 3

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Today, the music would have been described in code and text, not in a graphic way like we do today, where we actually click notes on a staff in a program but anyway you can see it’s a really nice product. The imprint that the publisher used getting was able to achieve using score is quite fine and so a moment ago you saw the the the ink on vellum manuscript that I wrote in 88 and then this is a couple of years later I guess, or a year later, it was published. What it would have looked like with the program score Leland Smith is the fellow who developed Score. He was a Stanford University professor and he developed it as an outgrowth of work that he did it. Here that famous technology music technology facility in Paris. He did this in late in the 1970s and you can see an actual example of some music and then below it, the code.

There are sort of five stages you know first the pitches then the rhythm then things like the beams and slurs all of that had to be coded in and it’s not as intuitive as it would seem but I’m sure you know a lot of big publishers used it it was the standard for a while so it’s quite expressive but for those of us who aren’t used to it it does look kind of counterintuitive and I ran on-disk operating system most recently. It may even I’m not sure but it may even run on more current operating systems and then with personal computers and especially with the development of graphic user interfaces that give us icons and tools and things that like things like desktops and things in about the system that makes the interface more intuitive and less textual and also with the development of MIDI.

We end up with programs like finale and Sibelius so we’re on the were basically now up to to the computer music
technology finale was developed around 1988 MIDI was developed as a by the consortium of you know the keyboard manufacturers like Korg and roland and so forth in there around 1984 so so finale was only about four years behind MIDI and I think that was basically the last major thing that had to happen for things like finale and sibelius to be possible anyway let’s look at one score that I wrote actually originally in pencil and that’s the one kind of music printing that we haven’t talked about you know composers like Beethoven we know use pencils to write their music and earlier and I was still doing that when I wrote this piece Aesop’s fables in fact it was I know this for a fact cuz my editor at at dal furred told me this bob Sheldon is the man’s name he told me when they accepted this score, that it was the last pencil score that they accepted at Alfred after that after publishing this piece they basically made a decision that they would only accept scores that were created in either finale or Sibelius. In other words that were professional-looking musically typeset so I don’t know if that’s an honor or curse that I have that honor but but that was in 2005 here is the pencil manuscript for Aesop’s fables or at least the opening page of it and you can see you know tried to be neat but yet it doesn’t look as nice as when it’s typeset in finale and of course here is the final version of it and we’ll just listen to a little bit of it.

Now I want to mention too that when composers do turn in their scores to two publishers like like Alford music which published this one now for publications they the typesetters the professional music copyists at Alford they start from scratch they don’t take the MIDI file or at least they generally don’t take the MIDI file from the composer and just clean it up their templates and they’re what makes the publishers music look like it looks so that’s what an imprint that’s called an imprint what makes an imprint look like it does, has a lot to do with all of their conventions and standards that that are unique to that publisher so they basically use your your finale notated music as a hard copy and then they start all over again from scratch and then a lot of proofreading has to be done of course but but it is easier to type it in if it looks like the finale version rather than the pencil version you saw and so from medieval copying by hand to 21st century computer music notation programs like finale we can learn much by examining how music is documented could it be that the medium influences the music were the free elastic rhythms of Gregorian chant influenced by the lack of rhythmic precision of early music notation finale is a powerful tool but it has its own limitations if you are composing today with finale could there be some limitation of the program which shapes the way you allow yourself to think about the music you write .