Quality of Published Music Print.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by P_S_Price, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    As eveyone can see from my profile Every band I have properly been a member of has been a Salvation Army Band.

    I have therefore got used to, what I think is the consistently good and regular print quality of SA published music.

    Its only when I play with non SA-groups and see the variations in print that I suspect that the SA is a bit spoiled in this area.

    Which publisher(s) do you think produce consistently good quality, and which ones are more suspect?
  2. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    So I take it you've never played the SA arrangement of William Tell? Whilst it's a great arrangement, the print and the repeats make it almost impossible to sight read. Or the countless other SA published stuff that squashes up the print so much that you have to read it with a magnifying glass?
  3. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Hmm as always someone comes in with a couple of examples to disprove that several thousand decent prints are in fact tosh. I doubt fartycat that you have played as many SA pieces as I have (in some 42 years) of all different series, including those from other territories, so I think that experience allows me to make a pretty fair assessment of the quality in General.

    SA published music It isnt always perfect. But in the main its very good and nearly always a consistent style.

    Many of the pieces that I have played in the few (and I conceded it is only a few) non SA Bands seemed to me to have had an indifferent print quality. Its probably because its not what I am used to, but I find the Italic/Psuedo Handwriting styles of print that seemed to be fairly prevalent awkward to read. Then again others publishers are as clear as a bell and obviously vastly superior.

    I am not claiming that the stuff churned out by the SA in the UK is the best; far from it, as has been pointed out it can occasionally be indifferent.

    The SA is just the publisher I have seen the most, and standard (to me) is acceptable. However all Generalisations can be picked apart with specific cases.

    I am trying to ascertain which publishers people think are generally very good, and which publishers usually turn out drivelly hard to read copies.

    Again my lack of experience in playing Non SA arrangements hardly qualifies me to judge publishers other than the SA at all, except for the handful of pieces I have seen.
  4. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    Pete, my first teacher was a SA bandmaster. My school band was set up by another SA bandmaster. The band I've played in for 22 years has very close connections with the SA, as has many of the conductors I've worked with. I've played quite a lot of SA music thanks very much.

    Starting this whole thread with your premise is just a little bit pointless isn't it?

    PS my favourite SA publishing trick is to squash the drum kit and timp part onto one stave. Makes its all eminently more readable!
  5. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Ok then accepting FC's premise that SA publishing quality is Dire and ranks bottom of the pile.

    My inquiry still stands who do people rate, and who do people hate?
  6. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    Sigh, I did not say that SA "publishing quality is Dire and ranks bottom of the pile".

    But for the record, just bought a new arr from MMI Music and am impressed. Our band have Gareth Pritchard conducting us so we've been looking at a lot of Jagrin's music recently and that is easy on the eye. And Prima Vista are also very clear.
  7. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    And neither did I say it was the best. I merely said it was consistent, and I believe it is. NORMALLY each piece has the same print style as the rest.!

    I would bar all those publishers who use Psuedo handwriting. It is a nightmare to sight read.!

    One further Point - Up the Dale - See you in League 1 this season!
  8. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Gareth is also extremely diligent about editing; hence there are far fewer typos in his stuff than some others.

    I've always been impressed by Philip Sparke's Anglo Music stuff; not only is it well edited and typeset, but as a printer during daylight hours I'm a bit of a geek about paper and binding quality, and AMP's are pretty decent. I was also impressed by the quality of the published score/parts of Eden recently.

    The worst editing/printing I've seen in recent memory was the music for Kenneth Downie's Three Part Invention used for the 2nd section area a couple of years ago, published by (if memory serves) North Music Holland. Utter rubbish.
  9. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    National Finals, 1st section, 2006.

    Perfect Fool published by Chandos.... it was absolutely shocking.
  10. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Ive heard that about chandos before somewhere
  11. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    I'm interested to know which type of SA music the OP is referring to? What I'm thinking is, there's the older march books ompared to the newer ones, and the older style of sheet (festival/general/triumph/unity) as I think this makes a huge difference!

    I find the more recently produced books and sheet music to be of excellent- and almost faultless- quality, however, the older music was often so squashed togeher you can't distinguish one marking from another or work out whether a marking s for the line of music above or below it, then there are the riduculously frequent printing problems ersulting in bars with notes missing, and notes where you can't tell if it should be a minim or a crotchet (among other examples), and finally the fact that it's mostly so small that an ant would struggle!

    However, as I say, I do agree that the recent stuff is mostly of amazing quality.

    I don't know if anyone else comes across it much, but I play a lot of music from Blow and Believe as well as SA stuff, and again it's brilliant.
  12. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    The really old stuff is ok. There are errors in it and occassionally it could be squashed. But yes I think that nearly all of it is of the same consistent type - Unity, Triumph, General, Festival, Tune Books, Favourites Journals, Carol books all of them.

    all of a similar consistency. and when you think of the volume of published music its not bad.
  13. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    I disagree there- I think most of the older stuff is pretty bad (or maybe they just sent all the dud copies our way!), but that the modern copies are excellent
  14. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    The quality of published music is of particular interest to me, having been a professional music editor for most of my working life. Much SA band music did suffer from being too tightly squeezed onto a single page. One reason was to fit the march-card size for outdoor meetings and marching (i.e., to fit into a lyre). Unfortunately many longer festival (concert) works, though published on larger paper size, still suffered from small stave sizes and being tightly spaced. But it should be remembered that the purchase price had to be as reasonable as possible. Many SA bands purchased nearly everything published by SP&S through a subscription scheme. New band pieces were (and still are, I think) published in huge quantity periodically.

    From very early on, the SA (SP&S) avoided hand-written music and used the fine music engraving company Lowe & Brydone – yes, real engraving – as did many commercial music publishers in the UK and their work was of a high standard. Had it not been for the spacing restrictions placed on L&B by the SA, the appearance would have been considerably better. After Lowe & Brydone went out of business, the SA continued to use one of the finest music processing and printing companies, Halstan, to produce its music. Today, most publishers (including the SA) use computer-generated programmes to set music.

    I think it fair to say that the SA has traditionally exercised stringent editorial control and has not cut corners in this area of music production. This is largely responsible for the consistency of publications.

    Unfortunately, many think today’s computer programmes automatically take care of all music setting issues. Not so! I’ve seen plenty of published pieces turned out via computer that would make a properly-trained music engraver squirm. Nevertheless, first class results are possible with the computer using experienced editors and setters.
  15. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Bands most definitely still subscribe; we do. We have almost a complete Library of everything published in the UK. I used to work for SP&S in the early 80's when Ray Bowes and Les Condon worked in the IMED and you are right they were very strict about the content.

    However SP&S was not good in looking after its precious music Library resource. Even then some early parts had been lost and were no longer available for official photocopy reporoduction by the music department. Such a shame!
  16. Keith Stanley James Lever

    Keith Stanley James Lever Supporting Member

    I know this thread is about "printed" music but what about manuscript, some of the manuscript music I have played off has been absolutely dreadful.
  17. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I think we have become so accustomed to the more spacious layout of modern productions that we have forgotten how crowded the old general series/triumph series was - and not just for the cornet players trying to decypher multiple parts on one copy! We ran through a selection last week and I found it really hard adjusting to the small print - I know I'm getting on, but I don't think my sight's that bad!

    I'd also second what has been said about computer programmes: they can be very good and save a lot of work, but in their raw state they can throw out some very untidy copies: I know my Dad spends ages correcting their default layout to produce something more user-friendly.
  18. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    I'm glad to see somebody has started a thread about this. I have been thinking about this subject for a long time now.

    I usually find it is the, if you like, 'smaller' independent publishers whose printing and typesetting qualities are the poorest. Some of the music I have bought in the past wouldn't pass the 'fit for purpose' analysis their quality is so poor.

    Some publishers (or is it the typesetters that are at fault here?!) just cannot seem to get the basics right. For example, spacing the music correctly, getting slurs in the right place, not having the first bar of a repeated section just before a page turn, text overlapping the music, wrong notes - the list goes on.

    Having spent over £500 on new music recently I sourced it from one outlet but it spanned nine publishers.

    Triumphonic Productions - generally very good
    Scherzando - generally very good
    Prima Vista - excellent - although the purchased piece is very short and very thinly scored
    Obrasso - excellent
    Norsk Noteservice - Just OK
    Hal-Leonard - generally very good
    De Haske - excellent
    Anglo Music Press - excellent
    Mode For.... - absolutely shocking (sorry Tabby). There is so much wrong with the typesetting. I would be highly embarrassed if any of my stuff went out in this state. All the issues mentioned above are evident in the score and parts.

    Badly typeset and difficult to read music put me off buying from publishers twice. I am very particular about the way I present my music and I am a tiny, tiny fish in a massive pond. Indeed there are publishers who advertise their music on this sight with a link to the scores who I would never buy from as the quality as presented via that link is so poor.

    Generally the big names in music publishing get a fairly decent quality product but if you are expecting people to pay for that product making it look right should be your primary consideration. How it sounds is an entirely different conversation to have :biggrin:
  19. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I bought a trombone solo that was published by Just Music last year. The layout was absolutely shocking, including several parts that had to turn over mid-note because they'd printed it double sided. I called them and they eventually (after several months) sent a new set single sided, but they didn't bother to fix the numerous errors in the score and parts that I told them about.

    They're generally good for supplying music from other publishers, but I don't think I'll be rushing to buy any more of their own publications.