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#1995075 - 12/05/12 02:40 PM For those of you who compose on paper...
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
I was wondering what is your favorite writing instrument? Do you like to use a pencil, pen, marker, fountain pen, ball pen etc?

I know this seems an odd question. I have a background of being a hobby writer (only published a few poems.) I know that when I wrote I liked to use a nice smooth ball point pen and typing had to be done on a manual typewriter.

Well last night I made my first composition (my best friend bought me some composition books the lovely gal) and I used a pencil. Great for mistakes but doesn't feel smooth or nice to me.

So what do you use and why?


Edited by BeccaBb (12/05/12 02:40 PM)
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Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1995159 - 12/05/12 06:10 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5190
Loc: Europe
ALWAYS a pencil. A very specific pencil. This one: http://www.plaisio.gr/Consumables/Office...Tip-KF25011.htm (it's in Greek, so don't try reading it)...

But in short: It's got a lovely rubber on the back, which is great and doesn't break off. In fact with a knife one can take out a bit of the metal around it (which is holding it in place) and still have more rubber to use.

It's HB but a very smooth HB. The lead in the pencil doesn't break easily, so one can keep it as sharp as one wishes.

So, I always use a pencil. ALWAYS. My fountain pen (with my initial inscribed, blah blah) is saved for signing contracts and stuff! and some markers to use on parcels, envelops, etc...

The 'how well a pencil writes' is very relevant to 'how nice a paper you've got' actually. So perhaps try a different paper type and see if it works better.

And... I've PMed you!
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http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1995365 - 12/06/12 09:17 AM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
Tim Adrianson Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1017
Always a pencil -- preferably a Number 2, or certainly a graphite that will be dark enough that I can see it. I erase and revise on virtually every measure, and usually go through an eraser before I exhaust the pencil.

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#1995428 - 12/06/12 12:12 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Thank you Nikolas and Tim for your answers. smile I think the quality of paper is quite bad (they are music notation books.) I will have to try out a few different kind of pencils and see about what types of score paper I can get. smile

Looks like I have some experimenting to do!
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1995518 - 12/06/12 03:38 PM For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hey, 'Becca, it depends.

Several years ago, when I was writing a lot, I used this as my informal criteria: (I always wrote in "sections".) IF my ideas on a particular "section" were more-than-less fully-formed, I would use a Pelican fountain pen and India ink. Here, I was striving for the "flow and the feel" that you describe. IF, on the other hand, I was working measure-to-measure, or even note-to-note, it would be a specific Pentel #9mm mechanical pencil, with #2 soft lead.

If they are still available, the fine manuscript papers are produced by Belwin (Mills), and by G. Schirmer. They are made to accurately absorb India ink, and NOT show through on the other side.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1995571 - 12/06/12 05:29 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2687
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
When I'm composing (as opposed to copying) I use a mechanical pencil, thus no need for sharpening. It doesn't have to look pretty since I'll do the notation on the computer. I keep a spare eraser (rubber) around because one goes through the eraser on a mechanical pencil long before the first lead is used up. For me the important thing is to get ideas down on paper.

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#1995646 - 12/06/12 08:17 PM For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
'Becca,

Here is an additional thought on the paper: Since you are working on your Opus 1, you probably have little need of score-sized manuscript paper. So, for maximum smoothness of surface, purchase a ream of 28-pound, super-bright-white (98) color lazer printer paper at your office supply store. Use one of the sheets of your current paper as a "master", and photocopy a bunch of pages.

Always photocopy more than you think you will ever need, because once those creative juices start flowing, there will be no stopping!
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1995707 - 12/07/12 12:21 AM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Ed: I have not heard of india ink before. I'm intrigued. I just might have to find out what that's about. smile I also like the idea of printing off my own paper. I would still need to buy a full sheet of it though, as the one I have is small. Like a small school notebook.

Steve and Ed: I like mechanical pencils too. I seem to constantly have issues sharpening regular pencils so I end up using a jack knife. LOL I will give that a try.

My eraser that I use is one of those clickable ones with the white eraser that is built like a pen. I have yet to go through the first one!

Thanks so much for all the replies! I will probably experiment with all of them and various combinations to see what works for me.

For now I think I'm going to clean up a few sections of my first piece. smile Perhaps with a mechanical pencil today.
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1997489 - 12/10/12 06:12 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
I like mechanical or wooden pencils, depending on what comes to mind. smile

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#1998229 - 12/12/12 08:23 AM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
PianoSongDownload Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 12
Loc: U.S.
I pretty much grab whatever pencil is nearby. I always make sure it is not dull, but not too sharp, and has a good eraser. I have a binder that has all of my old compositions along with blank manuscript paper that I have printed off the computer and 3-hole punched. I don't worry too much about what it looks like, I am more concerned with getting the ideas down while they are still in my head. Later I enter the information into the computer for a more professional look.
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Free Piano Sheet Music and Lead Sheets at http://www.PianoSongDownload.com

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#1998525 - 12/12/12 06:11 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: LoPresti]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
'Becca,

Here is an additional thought on the paper: Since you are working on your Opus 1, you probably have little need of score-sized manuscript paper. So, for maximum smoothness of surface, purchase a ream of 28-pound, super-bright-white (98) color lazer printer paper at your office supply store. Use one of the sheets of your current paper as a "master", and photocopy a bunch of pages.

Always photocopy more than you think you will ever need, because once those creative juices start flowing, there will be no stopping!


No need to go to the shop. You're here, so you have a computer. Google "manuscript paper" and you'll find a huge selection of pdf files of blank manuscript in various configurations, ready for printing whenever you need it.

Final copies using Indian ink have been made obsolete by computer score-publishing programs, except perhaps for avant-garde works using non-standard graphic notation. But feel free to make a work of art the old way if you want. I'd sooner use the time for composing the next piece :-)


Edited by Exalted Wombat (12/12/12 06:15 PM)

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#1998706 - 12/13/12 12:43 AM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Thanks some more guys!

I found piano manuscript paper on pdf, so all I need is paper and ink (I'm almost out.) Is regular manuscript paper better so that I practice my clef drawing or is the piano ones with it drawn already okay?

I've decided to use a regular pencil, sharpen my jackknife and keep the pencil sharp at all times. smile
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1998722 - 12/13/12 01:28 AM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5190
Loc: Europe
Do NOT use the already drawn clefs. REason is simple: You are FORCED to stay on that clef for that staff for the whole time, and if it happens that your music is moving around the keyboard you'll have trouble redoing the clef everytime and might get confused.

Just draw your own.

And, btw...

In a very happy feeling inside: Enough with the paramusical talk about pencils and manuscripts: Do us some music and share it with us. There's a thread for that purpose, plus you can do your own thread... smile
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1998726 - 12/13/12 01:34 AM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: BeccaBb
Is regular manuscript paper better so that I practice my clef drawing or is the piano ones with it drawn already okay?

The no-clef variety is better for several reasons:
* Just as you said, it affords practice drawing
* It allows for flexibility. There will be times when you want to make some quick notations, ALL of which might be in the bass clef, for instance.
* More on flexibility, when you compose your Sonata for Flute and Piano, you will require a three-line bracketing (a single treble, and a grand staff underneath.)
* There are times in the piano score when one needs both staves to be treble, or both staves to be bass.
* There will be lots of other variations as you write more.

I had you figured as more of a Buck knife girl.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1998736 - 12/13/12 02:20 AM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
In Copying individual parts for professional musicians to sight read, it was agreed that the use of the slightly yellow coloured10 stave manuscript paper.

This paper has the staves printed in grey so that, when the copyist writes the notes on it in Indian ink, a three dimensional effect is created making the notes stand out.

When I was a professional musician working in studios, this was the hallmark of professional music preparation. The top two staves were taken for the title and the bottom stave left empty. For subsequent pages the top and bottom staves were left empty. No more than 4 measures per line, 3 was usual, the occasional 5 would be forgiven.

It was essential to do it this way and when you consider the unusual lighting conditions on theatre stages and in television studios, the reasons for having high standards become readily apparent.

Professional musicians don't take the music seriously when they are presented with substandard music preparation. I remember one copyist who thought it a brilliant idea to put all the instructions, such as coda signs and dynamics in red and all was well until the lighting rehearsal. In predominantly red lighting conditions, the rubrics became invisible. So no other colours should ever be used.

Although I no longer do this kind of playing , I do find myself tuning pianos in Movie soundtrack recording studios and theatres Still, the computer driven copies I observe on the music stands obey these same rules, off-white 10 stave paper, grey staves and jet black clefs, notes and stems and instructions. No more than 4 measures per line. Oh, and no impossible page turns should go without saying. remember that if your music is used for a theatre run, many different musicians will be sight reading your stuff. Give them every opportunity to do it justice. Of course, in all professional circumstances, professional copyists are employed but it is well to know this stuff.

While I know that commercial music publishers flagrantly disobey these rules, anybody who wants to be taken seriously if they happen to employ professionals to play their music would be wise to keep their presentation standards high.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1998743 - 12/13/12 02:37 AM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5190
Loc: Europe
rxd: Valuable experience and post, thank you.

I just want to mention that in contemporary classical music everything above applies, but the '4 bars per system' which can be taken astray when dealing with very complicated music.

Of course one should note that with contemporary music you rarely get musicians sight reading for a recording or something. There's always been some preparation ahead of a rehearsal even.
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http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1998939 - 12/13/12 12:51 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Look at the neat stuff I'm learning and all I had to ask about was a pencil! smile Thanks guys that was very informative.

Nikolas: okay okay. I'll post it. Not sure when but sometime this month. Guess I better get my fingers moving and get it recorded!

Ed: hahaha a buck knife, I'd lose a finger trying to sharpen a pencil with that!

P.S. I found regular manuscript paper, with 10 staves. smile


Edited by BeccaBb (12/13/12 12:52 PM)
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1999110 - 12/13/12 06:56 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: Nikolas]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
rxd: Valuable experience and post, thank you.

I just want to mention that in contemporary classical music everything above applies, but the '4 bars per system' which can be taken astray when dealing with very complicated music.

Of course one should note that with contemporary music you rarely get musicians sight reading for a recording or something. There's always been some preparation ahead of a rehearsal even.


Yes very true. 'no more than 4 measures, often 3' I have seen one or two, if the measure is complicated. The computer is a boone to contemporary music because the traditional 5 lines system is often dispensed with and one measure can cover 3-4 lines or more.

Yes. A simple statement on these forums often turns into a whole pageant that's part of the fun. Input from so many directions.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1999129 - 12/13/12 07:49 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: Nikolas]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
rxd: Valuable experience and post, thank you.

+1

. . . I always wanted to use that internet-shorthand, but have never actually agreed with anyone before.

This is the sort of real-life insight, from someone who actually KNOWS stuff, that makes these Forums so dam* valuable! Thank you, rdx.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2005521 - 12/28/12 12:32 PM Re: For those of you who compose on paper... [Re: BeccaBb]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
I have not forgotten about putting my composition up on the December thread! I am waiting for tech support from Roland (or troubleshooting help from the digital forum) because the driver for windows 8 won't install and I can't record without it!

Hoping I will be able to record it come January (or I will be crying... lol)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my fine composing friends!
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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