Composing & Publishers

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Synival
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Composing & Publishers

Postby Synival » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:47 pm

Hey all,

I'm a composer and I'm finally getting serious and thinking about submitting works for publishing. Does anybody have any thoughts on which publishers are good? I'm probably a bit over my head here, but it would just be too cool to have scores of mine professional published with my name in the front :)

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:51 pm

I recommend smaller, local publishers if you indeed wish to publish with a publisher. Do some research on the company, and try not to go with a money hungry publisher à la UE. Also, make sure you are satisfied with the status of copyright and royalties in regard to the work, and never sign the work away.

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Postby Josef » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:03 pm

I remember the wish to "be published" from my own past. But it's of nostalgic value. Don't dwell on that too much. If you have something that fulfills any special needs, in the educational field for instance, or "easy to play christmas songs", you should try to find and convince a specialized publisher, maybe a local one as Yagan suggested, sign the contract (in as much awareness as one who is no lawyer can gather), and earn your 10% from the sale prize. If you just want to publish "yourself", do it yourself as you've already started to do on your website. Then, you might want to choose some online distributors (just google "sheet music"), or put it on an archive like IMSLP. A publishing house can help you collect your royalties or help your reputation with its own, but that's it.

I don't know how much you expect to earn money from publishing your sheet music, but I wouldn't expect too much. Not if you write no really popular music. Even if you do, don't bother yourself too much with publishing; found an ensemble and go on tour :-)

Notes on sheets are no music yet. Not even recordings (just another form of notation). For me, live concerts are the real deal, philosophically as they should be monetary.

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Postby Synival » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:53 pm

Well, I'm not thinking that "being published" is going to skyrocket me to any fame or bring in any cash or anything, but what I would like are scores that look and feel nice, and are nicely bound. I'm definitely planning to keep stuff online since that's the smart way to do it nowadays.

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:57 am

Maybe going to a printing service rather than a publisher then? If you go to a publisher you will be printing a lot of copies, if you go to a printing service you can only print a few (if you want).

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Postby Vivaldi » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:03 am

Yagan, if one plans to publish a score with many copies in mind, does the score layout and engraving style come into consideration? Personally, my favourite music publisher and engraver (traditional hand engraving) is Baerenreiter.

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:24 am

If you wanted to publish with many copies, the professional publisher would likely help you with engraving and notation, and would never actually publish bad notation.

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Postby Carolus » Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:18 am

Interesting remarks here. A couple of observations:

1. Printing technology has improved greatly to where one can have scores literally printed to order - one at a time. There are already at least two publishers I know of doing this. (Musikproduction Jurgen Höflich in Germany and Subito Music in the USA.) There are probably even more doing it that I am simply unaware of. The only limitation (for now) is larger format scores (10 x 13 inches and larger).

2. It is always to you advantage to have a nicely engraved score. Not everyone who buys a copy of Finale or Sibelius is a music engraver, either.

3. Baerenreiter hasn't used plate engraving since the 1960s. Most of their work was done in Korea (stamping) starting from the 60s-early 90s, with programs like Score from the early 90s onward. Henle was the last publisher to use plate engraving. The last craftsman retired in 2000. They now use a highly customized version of Finale as I understand it.

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Postby Vivaldi » Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:37 am

Carolus wrote:3. Baerenreiter hasn't used plate engraving since the 1960s. Most of their work was done in Korea (stamping) starting from the 60s-early 90s, with programs like Score from the early 90s onward. Henle was the last publisher to use plate engraving. The last craftsman retired in 2000. They now use a highly customized version of Finale as I understand it.


That is very interesting. However, if that is true, then the entire NMA and NBA was done not using plate engraving, but by stamping? Looking at an NMA score, I would never have suspected anything. I still have the impression that these scores were hand engraved.

Regarding the use of Finale by Baerenreiter, would the best example be the complete Beethoven symphonies edited by Jonathan del Mar?

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Postby Vivaldi » Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:44 am

Yagan,
For your case, would you go for a printing service or a publisher for your compositions?

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:16 am

I'd probably use a printing service for now, but reading carolus' post, I might use a similar publisher. I'll probably think more about it later though.

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Postby Carolus » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:53 pm

Stamping was really a hand process very similar to plate engraving in the way it was done. The Koreans who did this were quite adept at duplicating a particular engraving style, so the differences between the 1950s volumes of the NMA (done with plate engraving at C. G. Röder in the DDR) and the items produced in Seoul are really fairly subtle. Other NMA volumes (1960s) were engraved by Editio Musica Budapest, and Supraphon in Prague.

The Jonathan Del Mar Beethoven scores were created using the program Score, which is no longer supported but is still being used. Finale has been used in recent years, probably Sibelius as well. Music typography is an area where we've gone from a ancient manual process to total computerization in a single generation. Before the 1980s, all published music was created using a hand process of one type or another.

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Postby Josef » Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:28 pm

Synival wrote:what I would like are scores that look and feel nice, and are nicely bound


Oh yes, I've almost forgotten how that feels ...
Obviously I'm used too much to first flying then taped sheets of paper, aching for the ultimate, eye-friendly e-paper reading device ;-)

Carolus wrote:2. It is always to you advantage to have a nicely engraved score. Not everyone who buys a copy of Finale or Sibelius is a music engraver, either.


That's true. But as I know, unless you are famous enough to be worth it, so to speak, your publisher won't bear the costs of retypesetting your scores. If the publisher has a unique style, you'll get a check list for formatting, special libraries, and fonts for your typesetting program (Finale or Sibelius, but also Lilypond as I've seen), so you can either do it yourself or pay someone who does it for you. On the other hand, there could always be other kinds of publishers. Maybe it's the best to just ask, head on :-)

For a composer, I think, it would be convenient to develop a usable handwriting and to find his own style of notation that way. Then, using a computer program with a lot of automatic features would in another way "automatically" result in readible scores.

Carolus, thank you for the Juergen Hoeflich tip. Might be useful for future projects :-)

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Postby Synival » Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:33 pm

Hmm, I guess my post was misleading. The scores I have are already entered into Finale, so I don't need to pay anyone for engraving. Everything I have at the moment is already in PDF format, ready to go. So a printing service is what I need, not a publishing service. But it's still nice to know people are doing that these days!

Thanks for all the info.

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Postby Vivaldi » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:07 am

I personally still like to have a score engraved by hand or stamped rather than done by computers. It takes away the human touch required in music engraving. However, with the advent of computer engraving, I guess the transition from hand to computer engraving is unavoidable. Wonder if any of the major publishers might consider using Lilypond?


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