Music engraving

The art of music engraving (typesetting)


Some of the books with music engraved by The Art of Music
The need for clear, easy-to-read music

Musicians need clear musical scores to learn music and perform.

If you are a beginner, just learning to read music, you need correctly spaced notes and rests to get the rhythm right.

Experienced singers and players, often working with limited rehearsal time, need scores that:

  • are easy to read
  • show the correct relationship of notes – one to another
  • have notes and other symbols that are distinct (avoiding the "clashing of symbols" all too often seen in scores)

Skilled engravers have provided these scores in many different ways. From the earliest time-consuming copying by scribes to the earliest printing methods by Attaingnant and others, through to literal engraving on a plate, and finally to computer generation. But who knows what's round the corner?

Computer-aided music engraving

Using a computer can be faster than hand copying or engraving, and using sophisticated enough tools anyone can make a reasonable job of it.

However, engravers need an eye for detail and a versatile programme to make the printed page reflect the nature of the music. For that reason we use the unbeatable Score™ Music Engraving System.


Why we use Score
Just unbeatable!

Award-winning engravers all over the world prefer Score because its output is unbeatable.

Although other software programmes like Finale™ and Sibelius™ are excellent tools for composers and arrangers, we argue that they aren't the right tools for quality music engraving where the readability and beauty of the layout is more important than a quick solution.

You're in control, not the software

Score offers infinitesimal adjustment of items and spacing to produce the results you want (rather than what the programmers think you should want – although Sibelius has vastly improved its layout with versions 5, 6 and 7, the programme still tries to think for you…).

Score's page-based design enables engravers to place items exactly where they want them in order to present as clear a copy as possible. And they stay where they're put!

File format

A further advantage of Score over its rivals is that the file format has remained the same since the programme was first devised in the 1980s. This means that a file created 20 years ago can still be opened and edited, unlike Sibelius and Finale etc., which have a policy of built-in obsolescence

For details of other Score websites please go to our links page.


Music and text

Once the music has been engraved in Score it is imported as an EPS into Adobe InDesign™, where type is set and other images are placed.

The resulting file is then exported as a PDF that can be sent electronically anywhere in the world for the printing of multiple copies.

If you would like to see some samples of our work, please contact us).

We are always happy to discuss your projects and the best methods for achieving the results you need.

Musicians and Publishers who choose
The Art of Music

We have set several thousand pages of music in Score.
Here are just a few of them:

  • Stainer & Bell's Early English Church Music series:
    Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary According to the Use of Salisbury (two volumes, 2019)
  • Church of England:
    Common Worship
    (see below)
  • Royal School of Church Music:
    Music for Common Worship (see below)
  • chant:
    In paradisum (The Art of Music, 2006)
  • Sebastian Forbes:
    A Touch of Contrast (1994, unpublished)
  • Philip Gaisford:
    music for the Eucharist and the Daily Office (Worth Abbey Music, 1995-2005)
  • John Harper:
    Come, Lord, come (RSCM, 1998)
    In the City of the Lord (2002, unpublished in this edition)
    Cymun y Cymry / A Welsh Eucharist (RSCM, 2003)
    Si quis diligit me (The Art of Music, 2006)
  • Sally Harper:
    music examples for Welsh Music History / Hanes Cerddoriaeth Cymru (University of Wales Press, 1999)
    music examples for Music in Welsh Culture before 1650 (Ashgate, 2007)
  • Pat Lynch:
    Love came down at Christmas (The Art of Music, 2004)
  • Ken Naylor, arr. Warwick:
    Coe Fen "How shall I sing that majesty" (The Art of Music, 2006)
  • Christopher Page:
    The Christian West and its Singers: The First Thousand Years (Yale, 2010 – available from Amazon)
  • The Panel of Monastic Musicians:
    Hymns for Prayer and Praise
    (Canterbury Press, 2011 and 2012)
  • Robin Downie:
    for piano solo (2010)
    The Call for choir & organ (2011 & 2018)
Common Worship

We have also engraved the music for a number of volumes of the Church of England's liturgy Common Worship:

  • Common Worship: Sunday Services (President's Edition) (Church House Publishing, 1999)
    download the music section (PDF)
    download errata list (credits the music engraver!)
  • Common Worship: Times and Seasons (Church House Publishing, 2006)
  • Common Worship: Festivals (Church House Publishing, 2008)
  • Common Worship: Holy Week and Easter (Church House Publishing, 2008)
  • Music for Common Worship I–III, VI, VII: Music for Sunday Services (RSCM, 2000 – 2005)

And of course, The Art of Music uses Score for our own publications


Further reading

Ted Ross's classic book The art of music engraving and processing (Hansen Books, 1970) is a complete manual, reference and text book on preparing music for reproduction and print.

Despite – or perhaps because of – being written at a time before the advent of computer music processing, it gives clear guidance and principles as to how a score should be laid out.