One particular difficulty encountered with music parts is special pagination, used either to accommodate unusual types of composition or because a self-publishing composer is unfamiliar with publishing conventions or uncomfortable with the music engraving software. Some of the most common problems encountered are:

  • Single central page — When the music for a part happens to fill an odd number of leaves, publishers will often include a single central page rather than leaving a blank end leaf in order to make a foldable folio. This is normally dealt with by attaching the central leaf with hinging tape, since it will need to open and turn like any other page. Bravo to the publishers willing to leave the blank end leaf!
  • Separate pages — Parts are published in separate (one-sided) sheets either when the music affords no good opportunity for a player to turn the page or when a self-published work is printed on a home printer. Even in the former case, libraries will usually want to attach the pages, since it is easier for a player to get a page turner than for a library to replace a lost sheet. Using a photocopier to fill in the blank side of every other sheet before guarding them together is perfectly legal.
  • Separate pages tacked together at the top — scores occasionally arrive with separate page parts glued lightly together at the tops of the pages with red tacking glue. This is to keep the sheets together and undamaged during shipping, and the end user is expected to separate the pages. After that, treat them like other separately paged parts.
  • 2–3−4–5 pagination — Music engravers try to fit a good page turn opportunity (a long rest or the end of a movement) at the ends of pages 1 and 3. When this is impossible for musical reasons, they sometimes will compromise by fitting the page turn in the middle of the piece, at the end of the second page. This means that the player will open the folio, play the first two pages from the front of the open sheet, then turn it over and play the other two pages from the back. Publishers familiar with the convention of having the left-hand page be even numbered and the right-hand page odd numbered will then number the pages 2–5 rather than 1–4, since the score starts on a left-hand page. In any case, sewing a part like this through the middle will defeat the purpose of the odd pagination, adding extra page turns and confusion for the player. Gluing a wide strip of paper along the edge of the first page of music, folding it over, and sewing through the fold is a good way to bind such parts if they need to be sewn into a cover.
  • Accordion pages — before the advent of common PC computer printing, music that didn’t offer good page turns was sometimes published in long sheets printed on one side and folded accordion style, so that they could be opened over a couple of music stands. Parts 3–6 pages long can simply be sewn through a central fold, but libraries may wish to photocopy longer parts onto new paper, since the unfolding and the wide reach will invite damage. Again, it is easier to find a page turner than a new part.
  • Diazo scores were also printed in long sheets, often to be bound with the sheets glued together back to back. Photocopying onto standard paper is usually the best library binding solution for these.
  • The part shown at the top of the page was printed by a small publisher with pages 1, 2, 5 and 6 on the front and back of an 11×17 sheet, and pages 3 and 4 on the front and back of a separate letter-size sheet. Gluing the two sheets together and adding a wide strip to fold and sew through makes it so the player has only one big page turn half way through the piece.

Alice Carli - Formats
Last updated: March 16, 2008, at 03:18 PM EDT

Business Office: 8551 Research Way, Suite 180, Middleton, WI 53562 | Phone: 608–836–5825 | FAX: 608–831–8200 | Email: | 2009 Music Library Association