On this blog we usually cover the high-tech side of things: software, hardware, apps, accessories, etc. Today, though, here’s a bit about the low-tech part of what we do.
Once the music is (hopefully) beautifully formatted with your favorite scoring program, it comes time to print and assemble the music. When it comes to the parts, the music is often printed in a booklet, double-sided and formatted so that page 1 is the first (right-hand, or recto) page, then you open the booklet up to get 2 pages at a time, with 2 on the left (verso), 3 on the right, and so on, with the whole thing saddle stitched — stapled in the middle along the spine. Most concert music is printed this way.
But another way of assembling the pages for parts is by printing the music single-sided and taping it together so that it folds like an accordion. Music bound by this method is often used in recording sessions so that three full pages can be viewed at once. Page turns aren’t an issue, making it easier to deal with particularly busy charts and also to quickly pick up from any point in the music. Jazz charts are often printed this way as well, making it easier to follow music with frequent repeats, dal segno markings, and codas.
It’s fairly easy to assemble a booklet; you fold the music in half and staple it, if needed, with a saddle-stapler (a manual stapler is fine for infrequent use, but we have an electric one which I would never want to be without!).
But the question often arises: How does one tape and assemble accordion-style parts?
It’s asked frequently enough that I figured I would demonstrate my technique and the tools I use to achieve the task in this 5-minute video. I’m sure others have different methods; if you do, I encourage you to share them in the comments!
The tools I used are inexpensive and can easily be purchased at your local art supplies store, or you can find them on Amazon — here are the links:
Of course, even after watching the video, if you don’t have a printer that can print large-format paper, and/or just want to leave the task of making your music look great to the professionals, please feel free to get in touch — we’ll be happy to print your music for you.