Handwritten Scores vs. Computer Scores

In the new millenium, as in the two decades preceding it, composers can often be found writing their scores in front of the computer screen. The advantages of setting music in a computer are a professional appearance, appeal to the publisher (or hopefully publisher-to-be), readability for the conductor or performer, and the comparative ease with which you can make parts. ("Parts" denote the written music required by individual players in an ensemble or orchestra).

The downside is that computers are slower than writing by hand, often clumsy when used to notate an otherwise elegant graphic idea, and unable to reproduce the composer's handwriting and notational style.

Before a composer starts entering notes in the computer, he or she usually has made some sort of manuscript, which is the main guide for the finished score. The manuscript may be preceded by layer upon layer of pre-manuscripts, sketches, notes, scribbles or sheets contain warnings and insights into one`s own methods of mining music from the soul.

In short, composing has a lot to do with pencils, ink and and paper. No paper means no composition. Composing is a very sonic, but also a very graphical art. It is not linear, like the writing of text, but spacial. Each of the tens of thousands of notes in every big piece of music is a decision, and an act of adding ink to paper or mouse input to file.