Profile PictureMichele Galvagno

Artistic Score Engraving — April Newsletter

Artistic Score Engraving — April Newsletter

Dear all,

We are here, one month later, with some glimpse of peace in a hopefully not too far future, even if it is hard to fathom all the consequences these events will bring on our lives. My warmest thoughts go to all those suffering, in every corner of the world, especially to those painfully affected by their brothers’ and sisters’ greed and wicked actions. There is no flag, no race, no citizenship, no definition that can justify any kind of violence, on any scale. On the same level, no government should be ever allowed to spread lies, hatred, propaganda, misinformation, in any way. I have started to watch Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard last month, and this made me realise that, should an alien race stumble upon this planet in the near future, they would be so disgusted by what they see that they would immediately change their course. I have noticed that most Sci-Fi movies regarding aliens depict them assuming that all living species possibly present in our universe would function exactly as we do, with the same survival instinct, greed, and violent drive, calling it “human nature”, but what if we would be wrong? What if we could change this in ourselves as well? The answer to all this is simple: invest in education, heavily, now before it is far too late. Oh right, the magic words, “invest” and “education”, so allergic to each other.

Let’s move on to brighter topics, shall we?

News

Last month I had announced how I would only send one newsletter per month, and I am not going to change that. I simply wanted to specify that this update has not affected the rate of new followers/unfollowers; more precisely, it appears to me that people followed to get the three gifts and possibly the discount codes, and then unfollowed. I will for sure change those code in the future, possibly once per month, and also change how often gifts are sent out. Otherwise, there would be no benefit to those who keep following and supporting my work for longer times. If you have any suggestion, please feel free to contact me, I will gladly listen to anything you have to say!

New Releases

My goal for 2022 is to do my best to release 12 new editions and, so far, I am managing, but it is so hard to keep this rhythm without sacrificing anything on quality’s side. This month I have two different releases, a score and a tool for my favourite notational software, Sibelius.

Wind fingerings for Sibelius

Since starting my job as a music engraver for living composers, I have needed to create almost countless musical symbols specific to each composer’s music. As a string player myself, I am regularly baffled at how complex wind instruments are, compared to cello, or violin. In contemporary music, composers often stretch the limits of those instruments, in the way of multi-phonic sounds and microtonal pitches. Multi-phonic sounds are when a wind instrument can produce more than one pitch concurrently, at the same time, something we normally would not expect. Microtonal pitches are, mainly, quarter-tones and eight-tones, though these last ones are more or less predictably precise.

Until last year I would produce the single symbols I would need and that would be it, but now I have decided to serialise it, and create all of them, starting with clarinet fingerings. The first version of my new template is already out in the wild, and you can find it here. Being in EARLY ACCESS, it is offered at a 50% discounted price if you use the code “early-access” and you will receive all updates for free. It is not yet feature complete, but it already contains full classical fingerings for B-flat and A clarinets, and all microtonal fingerings for B-flat, A, and E-flat sopranino clarinets. I am now working through the Bass Clarinet fingerings and, after this, multi-phonics will follow.

Public reception has, so far, been mixed, possibly and mainly because it is a paid template, but I cannot really offer something like this for free, even if I will consider creating a free tier when the work is done. Someone has even pointed out to me that this is useless because his students would want pictures of the clarinet’s side-keys.

My goal, with this template, was to use only symbols already present within Sibelius or easily reproducible. Somebody else suggested, “why don’t you create a font for this?”. Well, I am not a fan of fonts in general because of all compatibility issues that can arise and of the fact that I would need to keep supporting and tweaking them forever. Besides, using a font requires the user to learn how to use it, and, in my experience using fonts which already exist for this purpose, drove me to create this tool. It works in the simplest way ever:

  1. Import the included house style
  2. Press Z to open the symbol browser
  3. Type [ followed by the pitch you want to insert the fingering for (e.g., Gq#4 for a G of the fourth octave raised by a quarter sharp)
  4. Choose among the provided options (some pitches have more than one) by clicking on it.

The symbol will be automatically inserted in your score and attached to the rhythmical position you selected. Differently from a font, it will not be affected by changes in the operative system, or in any other settings of your document!

So far, it supports two music fonts: Opus and Helsinki, and it is designed to work best with the Plantin text font. I cannot possibly test it with every text font, but I have already created and planned a few variants for the most common ones. If you purchase this, and use a font you would like me to adapt the template for, let me know, and I will gladly comply. The way I have created this template is so flexible that it will be quite fast to realise!

I hope you like it, please let me know what you think of it.

Benedetto Marcello—Six Sonatas for cello solo and basso continuo

This project has been long in the making, and a series of pieces I deeply love, both as a performer and a teacher. Benedetto Marcello has been an incredibly interesting personality of late Baroque Italy, especially concerning sacred music, but also in his role as a clerical lawyer! His Six Sonatas for cello and basso continuo are among the most mysterious of his publications, and here are some fun facts for you to tickle your curiosity:

  • They are labelled Opera Prima (Opus 1) in the first edition from 1732 I used as source, as if they were his first published works. Indeed, they are not, as they appear to be the first published work of the Dutch publisher.
  • The Suzuki method’s fourth book, which contains the first two movements of the second sonata in E minor, labels them as Opus 2, once more, without any source.
  • Close to no other composition by Marcello has an opus number, yet three of them share the Opus 1!
  • At least twenty different editions of these sonatas, for many instrumentations, exist. None of them is based on original sources, apart from Henle’s one, which is doing an Urtext series, but has so far only published the first one and—very questionable decision—with a piano realisation of the continuo line.

My edition is based, as said, on the first edition from 1732, which has been copied to England and France shortly afterwards in the same year, and is therefore the only completely Urtext edition currently available. One may argue that, for pedagogical works, an already edited edition may save time in the classroom. In this case, several re-editions over the years, ranging from Moffat to Piatti to many others, have significantly altered the text in an almost unrecognisable way. Marcello was no cellist, but he studied violin, so he certainly knew something about string writing, and his refined taste needs no correction. I agree that every teacher should edit these sonatas according to each of their students’ needs, but I insist on the fact that the base should be a common, and authentic one.

The version you will find in this package contains a full score and a set of parts (cello and basso). Additionally, a copy of the cello part meant for paper printing is also included. This edition will be updated with my fingering and bowing suggestions as soon as I am satisfied with them. In any case, this update will be for free and will be included even if you purchase only the set of parts.

Many more details can be found in the Editorial Notes at the start of the edition book, which I do not want to spoil here. If you want to get a glimpse at these little gems, know that you can get the first one completely for free if you follow me here. So far three gifts had been planned for followers, but I am now expanding them to four with this new entry, which I hope you will appreciate.

If you wish, as I hope, to purchase the full set, please use this link (or the link below, if you received this via Gumroad).

Design

This edition also gave me the chance to further refine the design of my editions, with a new Bass and Tenor clef, which I hope you will love as much as I do.

The first page of the new edition on Marcello's Six Sonatas for Cello and basso


I have always been deeply in love with Novello’s clefs, and this is my first attempt at paying back all the good moments they gave me during my student’s years!

Catalogue

My catalogue is always available here, and it will be up-to-date with the latest additions by the time you receive this newsletter.

What’s next?

I hope you had guessed from the previous newsletter that the “blessed” man was “Benedetto” in Italian and that the city built on water was indeed “Venice”, not too hard, right?

The next editions mentioned in that list should come hopefully soon during the month of April.


And that’s it for this month! If you follow me, and received this in your e-mail inbox, you will find below a list of all my products with a 5% discount code already applied. If you don’t, please subscribe here, and you will get your personal codes in a few days.

As always, thank you for reading through this lengthy update, and let me know your thoughts, your suggestions, and your critiques, as I read and react to all of them.

I wish you all the best

Yours,

Michele Galvagno

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