Taking the manuscript and assembling the raw notes in a digital format is the first step in a process that can involve several drafts and proofs on the way towards a press ready document, free from any errors and ready to print.
SB Music Engraving offers a complete service from initial drafts and proofing through to the professional printing of attractive bound volumes ready for the music stand.
Not all musical texts are fully formed when they arrive for engraving. Expert proof-reading is offered on every job ensuring only the highest quality work leaves the studio.
The proofing process is there to make the performer's job easier by making your ideas as clear as possible. If you want a piece arranging, no problem. This is a slightly different set of tasks but the output is the same with results tailor-made to your requirements.
The voice that you give to the musical ideas you create, means that every work is approached as a unique undertaking... We pride ourselves on providing you with the kind of service built on a long experience of craftsmanship and dedication to the finest results the eye can behold. As the saying goes, "no job is too big... or too small" and no effort is too great when the results can literally last for centuries.
Good music engraving requires a profound understanding of music notation, of composition and performance, coupled with the skills of a graphic artist.
A good engraving communicates the composer's intentions precisely and without ambiguity.
Performers do not always know a good engraving when they see one but they nearly always struggle with a bad one. A poor layout can lead to a faltering performance that can make or break a work in its infancy.
If it is the composer's duty to interpret his or her vision of a musical form in a set of instructions on paper, and the performers duty to interpret those instructions (to realise the original intent of the composer), then it is the engraver's duty to ensure those instructions are presented clearly... without ambiguity, without contradiction. The engraver's craft bridges the gap between the composer and the performer and so must serve both masters in the service of the art.
Taking the composer's ideas and setting them down in a balanced and orderly way, the engraver strives to eliminate such problems as a huddled setting of notes, disproportionate and distracting gaps in the setting of the music, contradictory musical gestures, poor page turns and so on. In addition, the engraver brings to the composition, a toolkit of musical conventions and symbols developed through centuries of tradition, along with the illustrator's skills when working with more advanced modern pieces that require non-standard graphic notation.
The engravers of old used to work with a hammer and punches on metal plate. Technology has seen the old skills replaced by the digital medium and today's engravers are technologists in a highly specialised field where the best modern results rival the crispness and clarity of the old engravings. The scholarly dedication to the musical idea and the expansive knowledge required to set the widest range of pieces from a piano solo to a work for voice or for orchestra remains the same if not greater.
This knowledge, founded on a profound understanding of orchestration and performance sets the engraver apart from other graphic artists and when well-executed, it allows the performer to do their job without a moment's thought to the medium of transmission.