Digital Music Engraving

Ancient Groove Music endeavours to produce editions of music that have the highest standards of music notation. We aim to incorporate practices and rules from the days when music was scored into metal sheets by skilled craftsmen, but while still using the latest computer technology – what might be termed “digital engraving”. As with typography and graphic design: having the software is not enough! There are a great many rules, brought about from years of practice, good judgment and a keen eye, that the computer cannot know.

“Fully automatic high-quality music notation is not merely non-trivial, but in general impossible, without human-level intelligence.” Donald Byrd, Music Notation by Computer, 1983

Here is a list of commonly seen errors in computer-generated music scores, which we strive to eradicate:

Examples of our engraving

Books on Notation and Engraving standards:

Gould, Elaine: Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation, Faber Music

Read, Gardner: Music Notation, Crescendo/Taplinger

Ross, Ted: The Art of Music Notation, Hansen Books (available on CD-ROM from NPC Imaging)

Other music engraving links:

Music Printing History is a website with lots of resources on the subject.

Fun facts:

The word ‘engraving’ comes from the same Old English root as the word ‘grave’, both related to making a hole. The term ‘score’ for a piece of music is a metonym for the ‘scoring’ into the metal plate on which the music was engraved.

Here's a YouTube video showing Herr Hans Kühner, a master engraver at work. (There may be an advert at the start.)

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