Music papers and laser printing

FWIW, this is what I’ve been using. Acid-free, 3/4", $9.45 for 180 feet (60 yards). Seems like the same stuff hand copyists used to get at Associated Music in NYC. Obviously not as nice as linen, but a heck of a lot cheaper. I have parts that are probably 20 years old taped with acid-free artist tape and the tape hasn’t failed, or gotten sticky or gummy. I’ve tried the Pro-Art brand name tape when Amazon was out of the cheaper stuff but honestly couldn’t tell any difference for $4 more a roll. Occasionally I’ve gotten a somewhat crummy batch that will rip while pulling it off the roll, but that’s pretty rare. Works well for the price anyway.

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And here’s the texture:

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I’ve used some artists tape too, but at least the stuff I have is rather thick and stiff. That’s certainly the benefit of the linen: it’s very supple and bendable. But it’s true that the artists tape is a great alternative and it’s what I use when I’m making things for my choir.

Thanks this is all so helpful, I’m looking forward to printing and binding as a nice relaxing side hobby.

These pictures bring up another question, what do you guys do about covers?

Depends on what it is for. Jazz scores I print 11x14, ring bound, and use a heavy mat cover as I assume they will take some abuse. I’ve found these work well and aren’t too expensive. For 11x17 scores or anything saddle-stitched I usually send it out for printing as my binding machine can’t handle anything over 11" as it’s closed on the ends.

For me it depends on the scope of the project. If it’s just a choral octavo, I just print on 11x17 folded and stapled if necessary (so not actually “octavo” size, but you get the point) and don’t worry about a cover.

If it’s an instrumental work or a larger collection, I will print covers on 110lb cardstock and put a comb on the collection. For something that I will reference for a long time or play from very often, I will print on the cardstock and then laminate the covers (minimum 5mil, prefer 7) before putting it through the combing machine. I also try to use heavier weight paper for the rest of the booklet if it is something that I’m keeping for myself. For the rest I just use whatever is in the machine at the office.

I own a combing machine, long reach stapler, and a laminator, so I can do most things “in house”. About the only thing I can’t do is cut bindings off of collections I order from other publishers. I have to go to office depot for that.

Very useful, thanks guys.

With further research I’ve seen that 10x13 is also considered standard, or at least there’s a little internet chatter to that effect. However the paper appears to be impossible to find, if not print. Any thoughts on that?

Otherwise I got the printer and am printing 12x18 folded for parts to 9x12 parts. I found the settings to get me a proper landscape print so I can fold it and get a nice booklet, however the margins are about 1.5" , even though they are specified as .5". Maybe there’s a scaling issue (printing from Mac OS)? Not sure how to get this to expand in size to fit the page more and be easier to read. I’ve got the Rastral size up to 2-3.

I always had to have my 10X13 paper custom cut from larger sheets. Price would vary according to the price of paper, but for 1000 sheets it cost around $100.

I used a business called Central Paper, which is located in the Northeast US, but there must be other places that will do this.

Most orchestra librarians will know good local sources.

All my piano scores I checked are 9x12, even the Henle Urtext editions. In what contexts is 10x13 used, orchestral? I’m not playing in an orchestra at the moment and never noticed back then what paper was used.

The Modern Orchestra Librarians’ Association has some good guidelines. Here’s a link.

The relevant section on paper sizes is below:

"In North America, parts should be printed on paper at least 9 x 12 inches but no larger than 11 x 14
inches. If using the A and B JIS paper formats, parts should be prepared on paper no smaller than A4 but no larger than B4, the latter being the most common size. Common page sizes among many publishers are 9 x 12, 9.5 x 12.5, 10 x 13 inches, A4, and B4. While A4 parts are considered the minimum, paper larger than A4 is preferred and recommended among librarians. "

Basically just don’t use Letter, LOL!

Most Kalmus and Luck’s reprints use 10X13 paper.

Many publishers are now using 9.5X13 because the printers that can handle 19X13 paper (for two-up printing) are less expensive.

Breitkopf and Hartel use almost 10x13, that probably being the European equivalent.

I’m printing my first scores - 11x17. What do you folks suggest for binding, or the best way to do it? I can get a coil machine or whatever but I don’t think there’s one that will manage the 17". Is tape best? Do you tape each two pages, then tape all those together?

Check out the recommendations in this article and browse around on the scoring notes blog a little bit more as I believe there are some other dedicated posts which may prove helpful.

NYC music services recommends using a coil binding for large scores. It may very well require a coffee shop to use two smaller coils in tandem.

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