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Engraving for the Classical Guitar (1)

For a long time, I have felt the need for writing about my choices and thoughts about notating for the classical guitar. In this series of articles, I will discuss my choices and give the reasons for those choices. I do not claim to have the final solution or that my choices are the only best practice. In fact, I can find many easy readable scores – both among ancient, older and new scores – which I find pleasing and easy to read guitar in hand. History has provided us with a variety of options to solve the problems we meet when trying to squeeze two, three or more voices into a single staff, and in the same space find room for dynamics, expressions, technical information, and fingerings. What I will do in this series of articles is to show my choices and give my reasons for those.

When discussing engraving, you can read statements like:

  • It is usual to do so, it is common practice, it is common sense, I hate (…) – don’t do it …
  • It is plain wrong, silly choices, an awfull example of engraving, it is dumb, I was taught …
  • It is beautiful, it is ugly, it looks nice …

In this series I will try to use arguments like:

  • Historically it has been notated like in these examples – I prefer (…) for the following reasons …
  • I find solution “A” is easier to read than solution “B” – because …
  • I find this solution more aesthetic satisfying – because …

As any serious engraver, I always strive for finding the most precise and most readable solution, avoiding any ambiguity and redundancy, and finally produce a score that hopefully will work the best possible way for the target groups.

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