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Nib For Music Composition

nib music fountain pen composing

40 replies to this topic

#21 JonSzanto

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 05:52

Pls pardon my ignorance: what kind of line variation do you need for music composition? Is it for the Italian dynamic markings? The notes on the staves?

 

You need different widths of lines, both in the dynamic marks and staff markings, but even in the notes, with the noteheads and beams being thicker and the stems being thin.

However, if this thread gives the impression that line variation can only be accomplished through flexing a nib, it is a poor source of information. Between a standard 'blob' nib and a flexible nib stand the various italic grinds, which give both thick and thin lines - precisely what is needed for traditional music manuscript. See my above response as well.


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#22 A Smug Dill

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 06:17

You need different widths of lines, both in the dynamic marks and staff markings, but even in the notes, with the noteheads and beams being thicker and the stems being thin.


I get that.

Between a standard 'blob' nib and a flexible nib stand the various italic grinds, which give both thick and thin lines - precisely what is needed for traditional music manuscript.


Thus I thought Fude de Mannen nibs (and other bent-by-design nibs, such as Concord nibs) and Zoom nibs ought to be perfect for the application: generally no line variation within each individual pen stroke because the angle of the pen is held more or less constant, but between different strokes (say one for the stem, and then another for the notehead) the user can deliberately vary the angle of the pen to achieve different line widths.
As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#23 JonSzanto

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 06:35

Thus I thought Fude de Mannen nibs (and other bent-by-design nibs, such as Concord nibs) and Zoom nibs ought to be perfect for the application: generally no line variation within each individual pen stroke because the angle of the pen is held more or less constant

 

"More or less" is the key here. Music copying is, more often than not, not the leisurely practice like much of calligraphy - you have to bang it out! A plain italic nib, in just a couple sizes, it going to be far more consistent and a lot quicker: with each nib (I typically used 3-4 pens to cover the range of sizes from individual parts to full score). It would also be a much lower investment in tools, because this kind of work can be done with inexpensive pens (I believe I mentioned the Sheaffer pens).

I mean, that's just my perspective from having done it for a few years. YMMV


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#24 minddance

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 07:46

I believe if the (diagonal and horizontal) beams have to be written broad, the flex pen would have to change orientation and be flexed in that direction?

#25 JonSzanto

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 07:55

I believe if the (diagonal and horizontal) beams have to be written broad, the flex pen would have to change orientation and be flexed in that direction?

 

Exactly. And good luck getting the width of a line precisely even for as long as necessary. The other thing is that when you are doing beams (the horizontal thick line connecting groups of notes) it has to start and end with a very razor sharp edge. How in the world could you do that with a flex nib? Answer: you can't.

The thing is, doing music manuscript is not like handwriting, any more than architectural drawing is. It requires specific tools and hand techniques. The bottom line - if you are a music copyist - is that people will be reading this stuff. The more crisp, clear and consistent it is, the better the performance. You can't mess around.


"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."
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#26 minddance

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 08:35

An inexpensive Pilot Plumi(ini)x in Fine nib therefore might be great for the job: just angle the paper and pen optimally and writing can be done at good speed. (You want those creative juices flowing uninterrupted and do not want to be bothered by pen orientation and things that are not musical)

But, have fun with that flex nib, hope it flexes well!

#27 essayfaire

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 16:34

 

Exactly. And good luck getting the width of a line precisely even for as long as necessary. The other thing is that when you are doing beams (the horizontal thick line connecting groups of notes) it has to start and end with a very razor sharp edge. How in the world could you do that with a flex nib? Answer: you can't.

The thing is, doing music manuscript is not like handwriting, any more than architectural drawing is. It requires specific tools and hand techniques. The bottom line - if you are a music copyist - is that people will be reading this stuff. The more crisp, clear and consistent it is, the better the performance. You can't mess around.

Perhaps I have purchased the wrong pen.. we will see.  The pen will be used for initial composition, not copying for others.  Music stand, cello, piano, paper, pen. More than one pen would hinder the speed and flow of the composition, which can be input to Sibelius or another program later.


Festina lente


#28 JonSzanto

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 17:50

Perhaps I have purchased the wrong pen.. we will see.  The pen will be used for initial composition, not copying for others.  Music stand, cello, piano, paper, pen. More than one pen would hinder the speed and flow of the composition, which can be input to Sibelius or another program later.

If it works for you and the flow is from inspiration to capture on paper, then you have the perfect pen! Besides, time will tell and only you can answer what works. If you find that gaining control of flex it more of a burdon than a plus, the suggestion of something like a Plumix, which is a very inexpensive pen, should be followed up on, as it will give you easy entry into an italic nib.

Best wishes to you! I am a percussionist married to a cellist for many years. You are working with the best instrument ever created. :D


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~ Benjamin Franklin

#29 BaronWulfraed

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 19:37

Perhaps I have purchased the wrong pen.. we will see.  The pen will be used for initial composition, not copying for others.  Music stand, cello, piano, paper, pen. More than one pen would hinder the speed and flow of the composition, which can be input to Sibelius or another program later.

If it is just "notes" (no pun intended) to be later transcribed into software, then a simple mono-line pen is as suited... No need to worry about thick/thin presentation, sharp corners of beams, varying flag width... (All of which require rotating the hand between vertical [in-line with paper -- whole/half note heads being thick on the left/right and thin across top/bottom] to horizontal (stems are thin, flags start thick and end thin).

 

In my collection: stubs have the least variation (about 1:3). What I would call "cursive italic" has more variation than a stub, but still has rounded corners allowing for speed. A "formal italic" is more a chisel, very sensitive to nib/paper interface (any tilt will cause the corner to dig into the paper), but would have the most variation... And then there are the calligraphy broad/flat nibs (I have an old "modern" Osmiroid with a B4 nib -- three tines, spanning 2.3mm -- 0.3x2.0 line, almost 1:7 ratio).



#30 A Smug Dill

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 22:44

the suggestion of something like a Plumix, which is a very inexpensive pen, should be followed up on, as it will give you easy entry into an italic nib.


Or a Pilot MR Metropolitan that comes factory-configured with a CM nib, or a Pilot Prera demonstrator with same, if you prefer a pen in a more traditional shape and/or with a clip for use away from the music stand.
As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#31 Honeybadgers

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 01:54

I feel like the metro would be a little awkwardly heavy at the strange perpendicular angle it needs to be held at. None of the weight driving the nib forward, it's all just sitting in the crook of the hand.

 

The prera wouldn't be a bad option, but the ideal option would be a plumix stub and a prera F or M (or the new explorer might be even better) so you get a prera/explorer with two nib options.

 

Or, my personal preference, would be a wing sung 698 with a plumix nib. I still think that's the best pen to fit a pilot nib (despite that it can't be posted) and mine in white/clear with a plumix stub is never uninked.

 

There's a steel sailor MS nib too - it's about $80.

 

God I hate searching ebay for sailor pens. So many otaku body pillows. 


Edited by Honeybadgers, 04 February 2019 - 01:58.

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#32 JonSzanto

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 01:59

It is possible to over-think the situation. Music manuscript is not rocket science and, on top of all the other aspects, I was doing it left-handed. Modest toolset, decent ink and a bit of practice. The only aspect that is probably completely gone in the industry was copying on vellum, which had the lines printed on the reverse side; you inked on the back, barely being able to see the lines through the translucent paper. Another skill learned on that setup was scraping the ink off (because mistakes!) with a razor, just like Medieval manuscripts. And then, when done, off to the printer for offset printing. One of the last really labor-intensive music tasks.

Well, besides practicing.


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#33 A Smug Dill

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 02:02

God I hate searching ebay for sailor pens. So many otaku body pillows.


Curse you! I had no idea of what that is until now, and some things cannot be unseen.
As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#34 JonSzanto

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 02:11

God I hate searching ebay for sailor pens. So many otaku body pillows. 

 

Tell me about it. For a couple years I've occasionally entered an eBay search for a friend of mine, lusting after a long-gone special edition pen. Try searching for "sailor black velvet". Yow.


"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."
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#35 minddance

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 02:12

Perhaps I have purchased the wrong pen.. we will see.  The pen will be used for initial composition, not copying for others.  Music stand, cello, piano, paper, pen. More than one pen would hinder the speed and flow of the composition, which can be input to Sibelius or another program later.

 

Nobody is going to chide you for getting the 'wrong' pen :) Just keep getting and trying out pens until you find one that you truly enjoy and even when that happens, do not stop!

 

Keep writing and making music!



#36 Chouffleur

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 02:25

an italic. Most music nibs are too broad.

 

Personally I recommend a wing sung 698 and pilot plumix combo. the plumix has an italic nib that can be swapped into the 698 (it uses the same feed and nib style as pilot's steel nibs) the result will be a piston filler with two nib options for under $25.

 

If you write small notes, maybe a nemosine singularity with a 0.6mm stub.

Hush your mouth. No such thing. ;-) 


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#37 A Smug Dill

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 02:51

No such thing. ;-)


Oh yes, there is. The Music nib on my Pilot Custom 74 traumatised so much from my first use of it, I haven't touched it for three months, after flushing and cleaning it for putting it away in a 'wooden' (which is actually mostly MDF, I think) box.
As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#38 JonSzanto

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 02:57

Hush your mouth. No such thing. ;-) 

 

Oh yes, there is. The Music nib on my Pilot Custom 74 traumatised so much from my first use of it, I haven't touched it for three months, after flushing and cleaning it for putting it away in a 'wooden' (which is actually mostly MDF, I think) box.

 

We're losing sight of what the OP was asking for in nibs. No, there is no aesthetic limit on the size of the inaptly named "music nib", but they certainly don't have a lot of use in music copying at the width most of them are. Except for titles, maybe.


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~ Benjamin Franklin

#39 essayfaire

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 18:18

I am very sorry I just saw this thread, as you've ordered a pen. I certainly hope you enjoy that Monteverde for any uses you find. However, here is an answer I gave to a fellow on the reddit fountain pen sub a while ago:

 

 

Update -   the flex nib is in my son's hands is interesting but I'm going to be switching it out for a stub that is on the way.


Festina lente


#40 inkstainedruth

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 19:32

Curse you! I had no idea of what that is until now, and some things cannot be unseen.

 

Yeah, that makes two of us.... Unless there are some out there that have hot looking guys printed on them....  :rolleyes:  (Real guys, not anime cartoon guys....)

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

ETA: Back on topic.  I did a little bit of music transcription for my choir a few years ago (in my pre-FP days) and I used a plain old Uniball Eco black rollerball.  It got the job done.  And if I'd thought about it, I might have used one of my old Rapidographs, which are in a desk drawer someplace.  These days it's less of an issue, because the current choir director has some sort of software like Finale.  (Mind you, we're not needing anything as elaborate as what a full orchestra would need.


Edited by inkstainedruth, 19 February 2019 - 19:37.

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