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Printing/binding Options For Very Short Scores

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What are your preferred solutions for printing and binding very short scores -- those that would seem silly to spiral (or comb) bind?

For example, a two-page score for a solo instrument: I'd usually just print (one-sided) on heavy stock.

A two-page score for SATB: a tougher call and depends on context. 11x17 page folded could be ideal (title page on the front, music on the two interior pages, program notes / bio / etc. on the back). Or four individual pages stapled, for a more informal context or when you don't have access to 11x17 duplication.

Where do you generally draw the line re. what number of pages is appropriate for spiral (or comb) binding? Is there a page or summary document on the web about standards for such things?

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What I prefer to do for scores without very many pages is simply print them on stock and bind them with the use of binding tape. It's cost-effective and practical, usually.

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No particular brand or anything - but if you go that route, I'd make sure it's cloth tape (I don't know whether binding tape is ever made of anything else, but cloth is what I prefer to use) and that it's not colored (white or off-white should work; otherwise it sort of looks like masking tape and that's kind of sloppy).

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As of this past year, I use 11x17 for performances or when someone is actually paying me to write the music. For my own purposes, I compose on the 11x17 grid and scale-down to 8x11. Cheaper and more convenient. Even in my lesson, I do that. The cost was killing me. It's even cheaper to bind.

So as far as your question: It depends on the scenario.

My larger works that being purchased, here is the Maestrowick Publishing standard: (11x17) Cover is color cardstock, paper is at least a 60lb (high glossy) coil bound.

Parts are 9x12 are 10x13. Major inconvenience but it has a "look" that is unbeatable.

Non-purchased: 8x11 for everything.

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I work at Theodore Presser and here's our standards:

For most chamber and/or solo scores, they are printed on 11X17, folded and cut to booklet form at 8 1/2X11, three staples on 70lb white paper with a nice high DPI. Then a cover is added in glossy cardstock with the title, composer and company logo and "style" (extra graphics for accents or design purposes) in a consistent layout and font. For larger scores 11X14 or 11X17 is used depending on how small the original should be. Sometimes a rare 11X14.5 or 11X15 will pop up but this is an anomily. Parts for chamber are usually done on the 11X17 folded and cut to 8 1/2X11 or for larger works (i.e. orchestra or major chamber works like string quartets) they are printed on 13X19 yielding 9X13 parts, which are much easier to read off of.

As for your specific questions for short scores, a booklet format should suffice. We spiral bind at Presser *generally* when there are at least 10 sheets to bind (read: 20 pages, front and back). But there have been exceptions to the rule, esp. when dealing with landscape format scores. Printing music on cardstock is extremely rare (out of the 3,500 print jobs over the past year, it has happened once) and should be avoided unless it is for a special purpose. Better to make a single spread and fold it accordingly.

For SATB you should always cut it to octavo size if possible. 6 7/8X10.5 is standard. To print a spread this would require 11X17 and then cutting off the extra white space. Either way, this is always preferred to 8 1/2X11 scores since it is difficult to put that size into certain types of binders.

BTW, never use comb binding. Spiral binding is much more stable and less prone to tearing over long-term use. The pages also open flat much better. The advantage of comb-bound scores is pages can be removed and put back in because it is a "temporary" bind. This is not helpful in final published scores, only in drafts or manuscripts where the scores are flexible.

Also, BTW, never, ever, ever, ever, ever use spiral or comb binding for orchestral parts. Just, don't.

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Tokke has some awesome info, and I second "never use comb binding." For a two-page solo work, I'd do the score on 9x12, assuming that the notation fits comfortably on that size. (8.5x11 is cool too, especially in informal situations, and sometimes you might even see 9.5x12.5 or 10x13). I spiral bind, even for short works. That might change if I were to sell my scores regularly, but for now spiral binding is great. I use a clear plastic cover with black spiral and black backing. I haven't had any issues with bleedthrough, so regular printer paper cuts it, but something just a little thicker and cream colored is extra nice. Make sure there's a title page. Typically I'll put notes to the performer right on the back side of the title page, along with program notes, then start the composition on the next page, but for a two-page work I might put the program/performance notes on a new piece of paper after the title page and start the composition on the back side of that sheet. Keep in mind that EVEN PAGE NUMBERS ARE ALWAYS ON THE LEFT AND ODD PAGE NUMBERS ARE ON THE RIGHT. This means that if you start a piece on the backside of a sheet then that is page 2 (but you will not label it since it's the first page of the piece). The next page is labeled as page 3. Hope this helps!

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