Pens

A draftsman's ruling pen was capable of drawing hair-thin lines up to 1/8 of an inch wide. (Courtesy of Keuffel & Esser Co.)

A draftsman's ruling pen was capable of drawing hair-thin lines up to 1/8 of an inch wide. (Courtesy of Keuffel & Esser Co.)

Dip pens and fountain pens were both ideal. There were special nibs that were suited to writing music. These nibs had two or three points. The Esterbrook fountain pen was a popular choice. A draftsman's ruling pen (see image below) was a good choice for drawing bar lines and other straight lines. The pen was dipped into ink, and the line width could be adjusted from a hair-line to nearly one eighth of an inch by a small thumbscrew.

For lettering, a steel point pen was used such as the Speed Ball. The following pens were used for lettering. They are graded from fine to heavy.

  • Gillotts No. 70
  • Spencerian No. 1
  • Esterbrook Falcon No. 048
  • Hunt Speedball No. B - 3
  • Hunt Speedball No. B - 5

Cleaning materials for the pens were also needed. These included pen wipers and pen cleaners for clearing up clogged pens.

For correcting mistakes a soft rubber eraser was used. Sometimes it was necessary to scrape out the mistake, cut it out, or paste over it. If the mistake was too severe, it was more efficient to redo the entire page.

Cleaning materials for the pens were also needed. These included pen wipers and pen cleaners for clearing up clogged pens.

For correcting mistakes a soft rubber eraser was used. Sometimes it was necessary to scrape out the mistake, cut it out, or paste over it. If the mistake was too severe, it was more efficient to redo the entire page.

Rulers

A 15-inch T-square and ruler provided the copyist with measurements and helped with drawing straight lines. Metal rulers were preferred as they were more durable.

Lettering Devices

The following were used for writing uniformed performance indications, titles, vocal texts, and other directions or information needed on the score.

  • Braddock-Rowe Lettering Triangle - Lines were drawn by placing the tip of the pencil in the holes of the device. The triangle was moved across a T-square to keep the lines straight. The letters were written with ink which was allowed to dry before the penciled lines were erased.
  • Leroy Lettering Instrument - An instrument in which an arm with a point followed the grooved letters in a guide. The other arm held a pen or pencil which wrote the letters on the paper.

The Braddock-Rowe lettering triangle was used for making staff lines and uniform letters.

The Braddock-Rowe lettering triangle was used for making staff lines and uniform letters.

The writing device of the Leroy Lettering instrument. (In the private collection of the author.)

The writing device of the Leroy Lettering instrument. (In the private collection of the author.)

A set of the Leroy Lettering Instrument. (Private collection of the author.)

A set of the Leroy Lettering instrument. (Private collection of the author.)

A lettering guide for writing uniform letters on a musical score.

Lettering Device - A lettering guide for writing uniform letters on a musical score.

The Ames Lettering device. The instructions include additional applications which includes music. (Private collection of the author.)

The Ames Lettering device. The instructions include additional applications which includes music. (Private collection of the author.)

Dividers

These were used mainly to mark off measures, usually in equal distance. When writing the music, attention was given to detail. All notes, clefs, bar lines, etc., had to be uniform. In other words, they had to appear the same, which was difficult to do free hand.

A divider that was used to evenly divide the measures.

A divider that was used to evenly divide the measures.

Special Devices

Special devices could be purchased to aid in writing music. French curves were used to write slurs and other curving lines within the music. A flexible curve was also employed. The copyist could shape the curve into any shape. Pens with five-pronged nibs were used to write the staves uniformely. The resulting music appears below.

French curves originally used for drafting, were used by copyists to draw slurs and curves in the music. (Private collection of the author.)

French curves originally used for drafting, were used by copyists to draw slurs and curves in the music. (Private collection of the author.)

A flexible curve could be bent into almost any shape. It was used to draw slurs and other curves in music.

A flexible curve could be bent into almost any shape. It was used to draw slurs and other curves in music.

A fountain pen with five nibs which was used to draw the staves. (Private collection of the author.)

A fountain pen with five nibs which was used to draw the staves. (Private collection of the author.)

Professional, high-quality, handwritten music suitable for publication.

Professional, high-quality, handwritten music suitable for publication.