Is this still an acceptable way to draw stems?
I see this a lot in baroque manuscripts, but not so much in modern scores. Whenever I draw stems like this, my teacher teases that my music looks like wizarding runes. Admittedly, it does look kind of funny sometimes, but, in many cases, it's simply the most space-effective way to write the music (it can get tight when you only have a few millimetres between staves).
What do you think? Would seeing stems like these (on the left in the image) in your scores make your eyes bleed, or would you not mind them?
(Perhaps I should clarify that I'm asking exclusively about stems and not about noteheads or anything. This image isn't an excerpt from anything—it's just random notes for example that I scribbled out.)
**F I N A L C O N C L U S I O N**
I dunno. People started talking about Musescore and typesetting and nice fountain pens. From what I understand, it's fine as long you don't overdo it and everything is clean.
I honestly think that looks rather poor. Get Musescore.
the last measure you had is easier to read because when you join stems going in different directions it can be distracting. that being said, if your stems are interfering with something in the other staves, that is a much bigger problem and you should do whatever is the clearest. I think either way looks fine, but that's coming from a person who writes a vague squiggle instead of actual beams
I still write and copy music using pen and ink (never ball-point or fibre, and quill is difficult to get), or pencil (grade B or 2B). As long as I can read it, that's fine. I can't be fussed with the complexities of digital.
I don't think it should be just about minimizing effort when writing the music, but should have musical utility in mind, such as identifying or separating voices. I've been told that baroque music was written with that in mind.
- Bach's autographs are readable - and his stems are slashes, and his beams curly.
As a former teacher of music theory at the college level, I don't see what's so bad about your stems. Students are encouraged to make them straight and perpendicular (we recommended they use a straightedge they conveniently carried around with them: their student ID).
One issue that I always seem to have when notating by hand is judging in advance how much space I will need for the next bar. Musescore takes care of that for you.
If other people are expected to read and play your notation it is best to follow convention. If it is only for your own purposes, it doesn't matter. Writing music the way you showed for other people to play, you're just a careless or thoughtless slob (sorry!) . But if you write this way to quickly record your own compositions or for your own playing, I think it's fine. Any musician who might later copy it, either by hand or to computer should have no trouble with it.
All four examples are readable and understandable, and each followed the rules that govern it.
Joel, if you showed up to a Broadway orchestra pit for a dress rehearsal and you opened your 50-page part to discover it was all written in such notation, I think you'd lose your marbles by the end of the overture and you'd be asking the music director WTF.
How about this
Han, a reason for reversing the stems (having them following the note heads instead of preceding) is that it is actually quicker to write, which has been my experience. I believe calligraphers use the sort of pen you're asking about, but I've never used one. The place to enquire would be an artists' store, which might even stock quill pens. Or search online.
Has anyone had to play the handwritten mess in the official Porgy and Bess score?
Looks pretty legible to me! Have seen much worse.
Before the computer era I used to do pen and ink music copying. Music Copying used to be a craft with high standards, with their own section in the musicians' union directory. It can look beautiful when done right. The pen tip is one of the calligraphy italic tips, ( 0.9 mm is my favorite). It makes a thin line vertical and a broad line horizontal. The flags on the eight notes look fancy. Side note; those dash marks above notes in Ur-texts of early music may just be ordinary staccato. The italic-tip quill pen does not make dots, only dashes the size of the tip.
A long time ago I did some music copying using a calligraphic fountain pen. I found it rather cumbersome, since you have to rotate your wrist or the paper all the time. To reproduce a G clef nicely you'd have to rotate the pen tip several times. Ledger lines are horizontal and thin, so they require yet another hand angle, as do whole notes. Half notes are even more difficult to get right.
"To reproduce a G clef nicely you'd have to rotate the pen tip several times"
All of that was fine for when this site would have instead been printed in a newspaper and we'd be sending our entries on typewritten postcards.
The pressure-sensitive tip would be the thin-point steel tip commonly used in the nineteenth century for the various forms of copper-plate style handwriting. It is a different technique. the Italic tip works best for music copying. I'll be the first to admit that it is not fast.
When I studied composition, I had to deliver perfect manuscripts. I was suggested to use a Montblanc le grand fountain pen with massive gold nib. This does the job (and the nib is still as new after all that abuse!).
I wonder if this will be another dead end thread by the OP...
I've had several Montblancs of various types.
Mine doesn't clog. Wrong ink, maybe?
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