Printing Full Scores

Right or wrong, I was taught that 9"x12" is the standard size for scores. Local print shops (e.g., Staples, Office Depot) don’t carry 9x12 paper. On 8.5x11 paper, the score is readable, but a pretty small.

What do you normally do?

In addition to woodwinds, brass, and strings, I have timpani, harp, xylophone, celeste, and two 3-line percussion staves. Without the harp and mallets, printing would be easy, but those instruments are needed. I have horns on two staves for clarity.

Thank you.

9"x12" is awfully small for conductor scores, but it’s definitely a standard part size. It’s pretty easy to find “Arch B” paper though which is 12"x18" and can usually be handled by most oversize printers. Folding Arch B gives you 9"x12" (Arch A). You probably can get Arch A from a paper supplier too. When I print booklets I usually use Arch B folded.

My standard part size for accordion-bound parts is 9.5"x12.5". A bunch of us go in together and place a custom order from a local paper supplier. (It’s really too heavy to ship.) 25"x38" is a standard paper size for suppliers, so that can be cut to yield exactly 8 sheets of 9.5"x12.5" from each single sheet of 25"x38". I’m not the one that places the order, but IIRC the cutting fee is a flat rate as they have to set it up, so obviously it’s more cost efficient to place a large order.

Other useful music sizes are B4 (9.8"x13.9") and SRA4 (8.9"x12.6") if you can find them. Amazon, Staples, Office Depot, etc. all carry 12"x18" online though so you can easily fold that to get 9"x12". It’s probably worth calling a local paper distributor and see what sizes they can source or custom cut for you.

Judy Green stocks 9.5"x12.5" though, or you can outsource the printing to pros like Black Ribbon or Subito as well.


Thank you for the excellent information!

So, in summary, for a spiral bound conductor’s score, what do you recommend?

if you live in the U.S.

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For the score, I would ask whoever will be conducting it as they may have strong opinions about how they like it to look. Or if you’re in contact with the librarian for the orchestra that will be performing it, ask them first. Many orchestras have guidelines for part and score sizing either online or ready to send out. For a large instrumentation like yours and for a new work, I would probably be thinking 11x17 or another size in that general range, as the conductor will actually need to be able to read it during rehearsals.


I will ask the librarian at the Fort Worth Symphony. Whatever he does is probably fairly standard. Great suggestion. Thanks.

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Excellent. Thank you!

(I live in Fort Worth, TX–so similar to the US. :cowboy_hat_face:)

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I generally just default to “Tabloid” size (11x17) or A3 in Europe - unless otherwise requested. Makes for plenty of space for the full orchestral score!

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