There are many things to consider when printing your music, font style, font size, system spacing, stave spacing, overall look, feel, readability, presentation, and page size. Why is the page size so important? The page size dictates everything font style, font size, system spacing, stave spacing, feel, readability, and overall presentation. The same music page can look overly sparse if the page is to large and excessively messy and complicated if the page is to small. The score must be readable, requiring a particular size to be a conductor’s score and a particular size to be an orchestral part. When you submit your music score for printing at different print shops, they may require specific page sizes, so not one size fits all.
I started thinking about this when I went to have my orchestral scores printed; it had to be one size to be printed by the Canadian Music Center and another size to be printed at JW Pepper MyScore. Both places printed the conductor’s score and parts but required different sizes. I had to write two versions of the score if I wanted them printed at the two different print shops.
The MOLA guidelines for music preparation is a great guide published by the Major Orchestra Library Association, which is a good clarification for score preparation, based on many scores, for printing and publishing. The guidelines even point out that the conductor score and parts are different sizes in North America and Europe. These sizes can also change from one print shop to the next. While the dimensions are reasonably close to one another, once you reformat your page size, you should proofread your score again to ensure no unwanted changes occur.
I started considering my previous article on music notation programs and their differences. One aspect of the piece that needed to be mentioned was how music notation programs deal with page sizes differently. For example, Sibelius allows the composer to have various sizes, one for the conductor score and another for the orchestral parts, while noteflight does not. In noteflight (currently), all pages of your orchestral score must be the same size, meaning you must create two files, one where all the pages are conductor score size and the other part score size. When you print your score, you must take the conductor’s score from one file and the orchestral parts from the other. This method is the only workaround I know of, which may change in future updates. Page size will be an issue as you send your score for printing at various printers. So when picking your music notation program, ensure you understand how the program deals with page sizes. Thank you for reading; I’m just a music teacher having fun; catch ya on the next one.