The Best Paper For Sheet Music


What is the Best Music Paper for your Sheet Music?

Music notation is so much better on the right weight paper. Keeping editing and notes, reading and especially page-turning as effortless as possible is a real thing. Print out on cheap typing paper and you’re up for issues. With loose sheets of music, one-sided on translucent paper, the experience and the result is already set up to be below par. So here we are at sheet music paper size, weight, color and texture. Get the best Music Paper. 

The most in-depth look into Paper for Sheet Music on the Web.

Sheet Music Weights

Foremost is the paper’s weight. Lightweight paper is a nuisance. Its flimsiness is unsuitable for both staying on the stand and two sided printing. It is less durable and more likely to be blown away, even when someone walks by or opens a door or window. Does that stop the Flow Of Music. You bet it does. Of course heavy weight paper can also be cumbersome and too ridged to roll over and expose the next musical section.  

The Major Orchestra Librarians Association (MOLA) offer guidelines that suggest the following: “the minimum requirement is usually 60 or 70 lb. [100 gsm] offset paper.”.  The 70 lb. weight paper is an excellent and readily available weight for the sheets. Music that looks good on the page, and flips well is more important than a novice or even intermediate musician may realize. Obviously“acid-free”  sheet music is for the non-hippies. :)

Sheet Music Colors

The main consideration here is obviously readability. Sheets that reflect light should be greatly avoided. Stage lights and sunlight glare can help us loose our place. Traditional sheet music is customarily on mat, buff, light textured white, off-white or cream-colored music paper. Accordingly, music created for these same genres today will likely be best received when it’s the same color – especially when working with players mature enough to recall buying buff, manuscript paper from places like Judy Green.

While concert and other music that was traditionally engraved was most often found on white paper, some might still argue that anything but white might be a little easier on the eyes. I suspect that jazz guys might complain if you print to white paper, but it’s unlikely that any legit players would complain if you print to buff.

Sheet Music Page Size

While I should point out that there are no universally accepted standards, MOLA guidelines suggest printing orchestra parts “on paper at least 9.5 x 12.5 inches.” They also suggest that 10 x 13″ is common, but that anything larger than 11 x 14″ is “inconvenient and unwieldy.” Jazz and commercial music is commonly printed 9.5 x 12.5″. That said, because 12 X 18″ paper is very readily available, 9 x 12″ page sizes are also very common for both jazz and legit parts.

Choral music, on the other hand, is often printed octavo size, 6.75 x 10.5″. My goal today isn’t to tell you exactly what size you should use, but simply to suggest that there are options to 8.5 x 11″. When in doubt you might look to some musicians who perform the type of music you’re creating to see what they have on the stand in front of them.

I’ll also share another professional secret: Larger page sizes can provide an informal copy protection method as not everyone can easily photocopy 9 x 12″ or larger sheet music pages for free.

Sheet Music Combining Pages

Composers and Arrangers use single pages to prepare their work then work with music publishers to provide a high standard print score. The score is bound at the seam so the Manuscript can be trained to stay open with ease. Printing to larger, better paper is the specialty of the Sheet Music printing suppliers. For example, as a Sheet Music Provider we know that a Composer will need to print two-up on 12 x 18″ paper if they are working with 9 x 12″ pages.  These short scores are sold as a booklet in post cases. Again, this process is free if you have invested.

Printing from music notation software or a word processing application is a quick and easy way to check readability and make edits but it is no way to produce music for sale.

While booklet printing is the standard for “legit” music, jazz or commercial music is more often printed as a fanfold, so that multiple pages can be seen without noisy or interrupting page turns. This is a little easier to do and uses some old school technology: tape. Again, good materials can make all the difference, especially for charts that may be played again next year or the year after. If you use clear tape, you’ll want something that won’t yellow. If you might replace a page or change page order somewhere down the road, you might consider a “re-positionable” product that can be removed without damaging your page.

Where to Find Sheet Music Paper. Staff Paper. 

Cover tiny file look inside Grand Staff Manuscript Paper (Blank) Blank sheet music (also called staff paper or manuscript paper). Staff paper. 10 pages. Published by SMP Music Publishing (US.11115).

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