Purpose and Intent
• Create notation that allows the musician’s eye to flow across the page naturally and effortlessly
• Facilitate music reading with logical page layout and with stem and beam formations that reveal counterpoint and voice leading
• Aim for graphic balance and continuity
• Avoid anything that impedes clarity; promote everything that enables musicians to perform to their maximum potential
In the introduction to her recently published volume, Behind Bars; the Definitive Guide to Music Notation, author Elaine Gould tempers the power of computer-generated music notation with a reminder that computers cannot do it all for us.
“Computer software can take us so far; only the dexterity and the subtlety of the human mind can make the the ultimate informed choices notation frequently demands. . . . A computer programme will apply notation principles, but the operator must decide if these are the most apt solutions, and a trained eye is required to refine the settings and evaluate if the contents of the stave and the spacing on the page are really the most appropriate.”
The music engraver’s eye can only be perfected through the experience of reading music as a performing musician. Most musicians have experienced the frustration of working with badly-designed scores that are minefields of awkward page turns and crowded, hard-to-read measures. I certainly have and, as a result, I’ve come to truly appreciate – and aspire to emulate – the superior engraving and printing produced by publishing houses such as G. Henle Verlag and Schott.
I look forward to creating scores that you and your musical colleagues will enjoy
Artisans and craftspersons – carvers, calligraphers or embroiderers, for example – may create a single object that represents the breadth and depth of their experience and skills. This engraving of Heinrich Schenker’s graph of J. S. Bach’s Prelude No. 1 from Book I of the WTC is presented here in that spirit.
See if you can discern which of Finale’s tools were used to create the various elements in the graph. Some of the answers can be found in my free E-book, The Finale Numerics Font. You may be surprised!