Plumbago Books and Arts Music Manuscript Paper

Anyone who has done a Schenkerian graph—especially of a longer piece—knows that standard manuscript paper is poorly suited for the task. At first, just about everyone will try to fashion a homemade solution either by literally cutting and pasting onto 11 x 17 paper and xeroxing, or by using Finale or Sibelius to create three or four systems per page—enough to accommodate foreground, background, and perhaps a couple of middleground levels. But even if your solution is well-made, circumstances will invariably arise where you’re wishing someone made pads of this paper. Well, somebody does.

Plumbago Books and Arts of London states that their manuscript paper is suitable for voice-leading analysis and musical composition, but I think this pad is best-suited for Schenkerian graphs. The A3 size (11.69 x 16.54 inches) makes it ideal for larger pieces, if cumbersome to carry. (Like many Americans I’m not especially disposed to the metric system, but I have always favored European paper formats, especially A4 over 8.5 x 11). The right-hand margin goes all the way to the edge of the paper, and the stock is similar to standard copy paper—neither good nor bad.

This is the only commercially-available Schenkerian manuscript paper that I’ve come across, but it is made in London and available only in three stores in England. In fact, I’ve been trying on-and-off for nearly four years to get my hands on some (thanks Matthias!), but in the end, I’m very glad to have it.

This is the sort of thing where it’s quite possible to create your own solution, which is what I’ve done for years. But having a pad handy means you can keep things organized, and you’re not dependent on the campus copying center because of the 11 x 17 format.

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