Music engraving

Michael offers music engraving services.  Read below to find out more about what music engraving is and how you can benefit from it as a musician.  If you’re ready to have Michael start your engraving project, skip down to the bottom of this page and fill out the form below.

Music engraving is the art of taking a piece of sheet music (handwritten or printed) and turning it into a professional-grade product that can be used for publishing and/or performance.engravingplate  Like typesetting, this was done with metal plates, and prior to that, it was done with movable type.  Now, engraving usually refers to electronic engraving:  using a specialized piece of software to do the job.  Michael currently uses Finale v.26, which is one of the industry standards used by major music publishers worldwide.  After spending years just inputting notes and being content with the results, Michael began the long journey to begin to truly understand Finale and unlock its power.  After a stint with a major sacred music publishing company, he felt he was truly ready to offer his services to the world.

Good engraving accomplishes many things.  First, it creates an elegant, easy-to-follow product that musicians will enjoy reading from.  There are few things more frustrating than having the sheet music get in the way of making music.

Annotation 2019-08-23 223510Second, a good engraver will follow the conventions that engravers have set forth and followed for hundreds of years.  This is crucial!  Modern notation programs can take care of many of these conventions, but there are some things that computers aren’t equipped to do, and that’s where a professional engraver’s years of experience, knowledge, and skill will help immensely.  The end result will be sheet music that’s clearly understood by the player.

Rehearsals are aided by good engraving, too!  The less time musicians have to spend figuring out what they’re supposed to be playing, the more time they can spend rehearsing what matters.

Nowadays, having something professionally engraved also means being able to distribute it in common electronic formats (such as PDF).

Getting a piece engraved:  how the process works

First you need to decide what you’ll want engraved.  Here are some examples of common uses for engraving that a musician might need:

  • Preserving a piece of badly damaged or fragile music
  • Creating a beautifully engraved score/parts from handwritten music for use in ensembles
  • Transposing something into a different key/clef
  • Correcting old mistakes found in the original copy
  • Changing/inputting new lyrics into a piece

After deciding on what you’d like engraved, next you’ll need to provide Michael with a copy of the piece of music.  Below is a list of some ways that Michael can use to work from your music:

  • A Finale (.MUS or .MUSX) file.  This is the most desirable–it saves time and saves YOU money!
  • A MusicXML (.XML) file
  • A hardcopy
  • An electronic copy (PDFs or any standard graphics file will work, please be sure they are of high enough quality to be legible!)

It’s difficult to set a standard rate, as there are many, many factors involved.  Some engravers set a price per staff.  Others set a price per element (note, articulation, expression marks, etc.).  Others set a price per hour.  While these all have their advantages, there are also extreme disadvantages to you as the client.

Michael will give you a project fee once he’s been able to look at the piece.  The fee factors in things such as:

  • Source (is Michael inputting notes from a hardcopy or are they already taken care of with a Finale or XML file?)
  • Instrumentation (is it a single instrument, a small ensemble, or a full sized symphony orchestra?)
  • Complexity (does the piece require unusual notation markings, custom articulations, or odd score/part setup?)
  • Notes (a piece that is full of 32nd notes will be more expensive than a piece with whole notes and half notes)
  • Score/Parts (do you want a score only, or will you want a score and parts?)
  • Estimated hours of labor
  • Other factors (which would be clearly spelled out if they are taken into account)

Once you and Michael have agreed to a set fee and a turnaround time, you will need to pay 50% upfront.  At that point, he will begin your work.  As soon as he’s finished, he will send you a draft for your inspection.  His engraving fee covers one round of edits that you wish to make.  Perhaps you made a change in the music or lyrics, or maybe you wanted to add expression markings or articulations that weren’t included in the original: these are all examples of edits that clients are entitled to during this round of editing.  That said, please keep in mind that any drastic, labor intensive edits will increase the price of the final product.  While infrequent, occasionally there will be an engraver error, and these are always corrected free of charge.

Once you have sent in your round of edits, Michael will work on those and then E-Mail you the final draft in a high quality PDF once he has received final payment.  If local, a client may pay using PayPal or cash.  Non-local clients must pay using PayPal.  This is to protect both parties involved.  If you have professional products or services that you offer, please let Michael know and you may be able to set up a trade.

Use the form below to get the process started.  For those on a time crunch and need a fast turnaround time, please inquire about rush services!

Michael offers specialized engraving services for church musicians, too!



One thought on “Music engraving

  1. Pingback: Easter is on the way…. | Michael Sanchez Music

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