Interview by Jari Williamsson, January 2005Andrew is a composer and music publisher. He started the music publishing company Kallisti Music Press, specializing in contemporary and neglected older works, primarily American. Here he discusses some of the techniques involved with music publishing.
What is your background?
I am a composer, b. 1946. PhD. 1976 from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where I studied with Lejaren Hiller and Morton Feldman. Despite Hiller's prominence in the computer-music field, I had no particular interest in the subject until the advent of home computers with user-friendly GUI.
When did you first publish anything made with Finale?
1991, with FinMac 2.0.1. I had been a free-lance music critic in the '80s, and then quite suddenly in 1990 I realized I would have to stop doing that (I was burning out from all the lousy concerts I was sent to, and then the Philadelphia Inquirer blithely informed me that as long as I was submitting reviews to them, they would not review any of my own works!) I had been thinking of getting a computer for some time, and I decided to set up as a music publisher. I researched the various notation programs available and decided on Finale; and since Finale at that time was primarily a Macintosh program, I decided to get the Mac version, then bought a Mac to run it on.
Self-published composers were and are a dime a dozen, and I thought my whole enterprise would be more credible if I published other peoples' work as well. Hiller had about 40 unpublished works which I contracted to bring out, and I had a longtime interest in the early American composer Anthony Philip Heinrich--so for the first year or two I published Heinrich, Hiller, Stiller in strict rotation. Heinrich and Hiller are still at the core of my catalog.
Do you as a publisher have a "house style"?
Yes, I do have a house style. It covers just about everything, but generally I give composers a lot of leeway on things like typography. I'm much stricter when it comes to historical work, which has to look professional from a musicological standpoint, and especially with my Heinrich publications, which are officially billed as an ongoing Gesamtausgabe and therefore not only have to look very classy, but also need to be uniform in appearance from one volume to another. I have a style sheet about 8 pages long that I give to my Heinrich editors, and about 3 or 4 pages for everybody else. The so-called "Music Press" page at the Colorado College website is drawn directly from my style sheet as of ca. 1994. I have changed my mind about certain things since then.
Have any of the changes in this area been affected by improvements/changes in Finale or are the changes based on other factors?
Oh, virtually all have been because of changes to the Finale program. For example, back then the only choice for music fonts was Petrucci or Sonata. I now favor Engraver and steer people away from Maestro, whose articulations I don't like. You couldn't adjust ties much in '94, and the default appearance of slurs was very bad.
On the other hand, I do not use many of the automated features introduced in recent versions, because I find them as bad or worse than the old behavior. Most notably, I usually tell people to turn off engraver slurs because all too often they assume that "engraver slurs" produces true, engraver-quality slurs whereas in fact engraver slurs need just as much tweaking as the old kind. Sophisticated users who tweak their engraver slurs after entering them don't need to be told to redo their work, but I find most Finalists are not that sophisticated.
In my own work I don't use any of the wizards, either, nor human playback (because I'd have to redesign all my custom articulations), nor automatic note spacing.
For users who have never created one, do you have any hints or advices on how to create a usable style sheet?
The style sheets can easily be created in a traditional word processor. One of my sub-sheets, a set of recommendations for tie settings, is a pure text document that I originally sent out as an email message to everyone who was writing for me at that time.
I try to keep style sheets entirely verbal, without musical examples. The idea is to explain to people what they must do, and if you can't do that verbally, no amount of diagrams or musical examples will help.
I must say that writing my book (the Handbook of Instrumentation) was a tremendous help to me in learning how to present a large amount of complex information in a clear, concise, and well-ordered way--and that, I think, is key to the creation of any successful style sheet. I would recommend to any novice publisher wishing to create such a sheet that they take a look at Words and Music or The Chicago Manual of Style or any other published style guide to see how this kind of information is best organized.
Based on the material for editing from other sources, which are the most common errors people seem to make in Finale?
Failing to tweak ties. Failing to apply note spacing (!). Placing expressions after the first note they affect. Reduction too drastic. No allowance for a binding margin. Optimization errors.
Regarding tweaking of ties, reduction and optimization, do you have any general advices or tips?
I have a whole page of instructions regarding ties. One thing I do that I know most people do not is to make heavy use of Robt. Patterson's Tie Mover plug-in. After I complete the layout for any score, the first thing I do is apply saved Tie Mover settings that 1) move all in-staff, on-space tie stubs to outer position and 2) turn on outer position for all short ties. (I was instrumental, by the way, in getting Robert to make his plugin allow separate settings for short, medium, or long ties.) After applying these operations, I usually find that there will be a handful of short ties that need to be further adjusted, or put back the way they were--but I have never ever needed to undo the work of the first abovementioned operation for even a single tie stub.
Here's a tip, by the way, for anyone who wants to become a master of tie configuration, as well as layers and voices: engrave some organ music!
Reduction: ideally 80%. Every percentage point below 75 should be earned in blood, except for miniature scores.
Optimization: Just don't do it until every note has been entered--period. If necessary, use TGTools/Staff List Manager/Check Optimization.
What additional tools do you use in your Finale work?
Well, all this is changing as I gradually shift to OSX, but in the past I have worked a great deal with Fontographer, QuicKeys, and Suitcase. I also occasionally have crucial need of Clip2Gif, Print2Pict, and FileTyper Lite.
By the way, I use Finale as my word processor! Always have.
For what kind of tasks do you use Fontographer?
I used it primarily to create musical symbols not found in existing fonts--a common issue for classical works ca. 1960-1990, but also a problem for early music even as late as 1820 (slashed turns, vertical turns...). In the early days I designed whole fonts full of music symbols not found in Petrucci, but other, better fonts (better than mine, I mean, e.g., Toccata and Fughetta) now exist for this.
Which 3rd-party plug-ins do you use?
TGTools and the Patterson Plug-ins Collection. Both are indispensible in my opinion. Of these suites, the tools I use most often are TGTools/Add-Remove Space in Measure and Patterson Plugins/Tie Mover. I wish the Tuplet Mover were more--much more--WYSIWYG.
If you compare the music publishing in Finale now and when you first started, what are the main differences?
Working speed. Finale work from Finale 2000 on has been roughly the same speed as old-fashioned manuscript work (not hand engraving, obviously, but just the making of a composer's fair copy). Quality has improved too, but not so dramatically.
Which direction would you personally like Finale to take in the future? What do you currently miss the most?
Back in '94 I had an 11-page list of improvements I wanted to see, almost all of which have now been enacted. By main feeling about Finale now is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.