RASTRAL SIZE - What's best for Piano Music?

Page size: LETTER (8.5x11" or 215.9 x 279.4mm)

What rastral size do you recommend? Size 2 (7.4mm) just seems too big to me. Even Size 3 (7.0mm) seems a little big. I’m tempted to use Size 4 (6.5mm) or even do a custom size (5.9mm) but I don’t want to make the pianist squint.

I think the main issue is the smaller page size of LETTER compared to that used in actual published piano scores. It’s challenging to fit a decent number of systems on the page if the rastral size is too big. Really curious to know what others use as default.

Here’s one source: https://mola-inc.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/files/mola3/MOLA-Guidelines-for-Music-Preparation.pdf

Thanks for sharing that great resource, Dan. It looks like 7.0-7.5 mm is the sweet spot. However, they also recommend minimum 9 x 12" for paper size. Whereas I expect these piano scores to be printed on 8.5x11" paper on personal printers.

Does anyone go lower than 7.0mm rastral size when printing to LETTER? When I’ve bought scores from websites like MusicNotes it seems like it is smaller than that.

Personally, I never use anything smaller than 7 mm on letter size paper, unless it’s a score (not a part or piano solo). This should make it possible to have four piano systems per page most of the time. But I’m also looking at a couple of Ligeti etudes engraved in Dorico a few years ago; their astral size is 6.5, and it looks pretty good to me, although I haven’t printed it out.

The question is less the size of the paper and more the distance the player is from the music.

Good points. Thanks Stephen & Derrek. I’m going to try out 7 mm.

Gould’s fine down to 6mm for piano music.
I try not to go below 6.5mm but sometimes needs must (especially with A4, given it’s even narrower than Letter) .

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