Reference Entry

Printing and publishing of music

Stanley Boorman, Eleanor Selfridge-Field and Donald W. Krummel

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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Printing is a technique for producing many single sets of copies taken from raised, incised or plane surfaces: that is, from type or from wood or metal blocks cut in relief; from copper, pewter or other metals engraved and punched; from stone or metal plates bearing an image imperceptibly raised. These, generally called letterpress, intaglio and lithographic printing, have each been used for printing music, and each has enjoyed a period of pre-eminence.

The waxing and waning of different printing processes was not in the lineal order of a successor taking the place of its antecedent: over long periods the processes were in use side by side, the unique qualities of each of which was employed for some particular purpose. At the beginning of the 19th century, for example, Breitkopf & Härtel were printing music from type, from engraved plates and from lithographic stones concurrently. It is only since the late 1960s that music type has all but disappeared from the case rooms of printing offices and hand engraving has been supplanted by computerized production of visual text from which photographic plates are prepared....

Reference Entry.  49706 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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