While music has been handwritten throughout the ages, there have been several books and instruction manuals written on how to copy music by hand. Below are some of the materials that were used to write hand-written music professionally.


Opaque paper used was of a firm texture; soft paper caused smearing and blobbing of the ink. Transparent papers had very hard surfaces, but they varied considerably in abrasive resistance and density and were not to be used.


Ink was a true black, not a blue-black. Colored inks were not acceptable. Types of inks that were available during the 1960s are as follows:

Higgins Engrossing Ink

Higgins Engrossing Ink - Good for writing music. This ink flowed in a fountain pen with a music point, and it made all characters uniformly black - from fine note stems to heavy rests.

Higgins Eternal Ink

Higgins Eternal Ink - Was sometimes recommended, but not very satisfactory because of the fact that it dried with a slight powdery deposit which was apt to smear over any pages that came into contact with it.

Drafting/Drawing Ink

Drafting/Drawing Ink - Was not used in a fountain pen but was used with hand-dipped pens which produced excellent results.

Not Pictured

  • Monarch Ink - This ink was developed for writing music. It was similar to Higgins Engrossing Ink. Manuscripts made with this ink, however, did not reproduce well, and it caused frequent pen clogs.
  • Cameo Ink - Same as Monarch Ink.