It’s not always convenient to break out some manuscript paper, then find a place to sit and write down what you were thinking of. Sometimes you wish you had a small notebook you could carry with you and inconspicuously jot down some ideas. There’s no shortage of these for the wordsmith or artist, but for musicians it usually means having to come up with homemade solutions. That’s not so bad; half the fun is making them.
Moleskine has a music notebook, but after seeing it I put it in the mental category of “music manuscript products likely not designed by musicians.” These are the niche products that large stationery companies come up with to fill-out their product line, who seemingly assume “it’s only five lines” and all of a sudden its music paper. That’s not necessarily true.
G. Henle Verlag, who prints perhaps the most exquisite commercially-available scores in the world, makes two music notebook products and both of them are very nice. This is the pocket-size version, and its printed on the same stock as their scores. But as much as I like them, there is one small problem. And I say this knowing full well that only someone picky enough to want notebooks like these is picky enough to have a complaint about them: I wish there were left-hand margins. Since it’s small I understand that it’s better to have the right-hand side print to the edge, but putting clefs, bars, braces, and brackets on staves that bleed off the page looks and feels strange to me. Still, that’s hardly a deal-breaker. They’re not very expensive ($1.50 ea.) and they are very handy to have around.
Cross-ferrulized Eberhard Faber Contak 440
I’ve also given out several of these to my composition students, along with the suggestion that they try capturing ideas away from their usual environment (e.g. their main instrument), which can sometimes dictate (and therefore, limit) their ideas.
Not having a small pad isn’t going to cause me to lose an idea or prevent me from writing something down, and making these notebooks is likely more of a chore for Henle than a boon. But it’s great that a company as venerable as Henle knows how small things like these notebooks can be so helpful, and that they are made with the same attention to detail found in their scores.