Manuscript paper lets you write down your compositions. These staves can be spread out on the paper or collected in systems. But what are the differences in manuscript paper?

What is Manuscript Paper?

Manuscript paper is a white sheet on which are printed staves made up of five black horizontal lines. You write directly on them by placing figures of musical notes, indications of tone, rhythm, and nuance, and rest figures to allow performers to play or sing the piece of music. It’s also possible to type the notes on a computer and print out an already composed sheet of manuscript paper.

Traditional Manuscript Paper

Traditional manuscript paper is the most commonly used because it’s suitable for all uses. Consisting of 12 staves but no bars, it often appears in A4 format. It’s also available with a blank space at the top that lets you create a header indicating the title and composer, but it only contains 10 staves in this case. It also comes in A4 landscape format with 8 staves printed widthwise.

It’s also found in A4 with 10 staves and enough space to include large tessituras, and in a duet version for piano four hands or instrumental duets.

Large Manuscript Paper

Due to its highly readable staves, large manuscript paper is well suited to young students at music schools. The staves with large spacing are perfectly designed for young children who are just starting out in music.

Available in A4 format, in a horizontal or vertical version, it also comes in landscape format, and is perfect for teaching-oriented pieces.

For instrumental trios for educational purposes, it consists of 3 groups of 3 staves per page.

Visually impaired and very young musicians who have trouble centring the notes on the stave readily adopt models with big thick lines, available in A4 and landscape format.

Mixed Manuscript Paper

This manuscript paper is appropriate for composing mixed music, with an instrumental voice on the traditional stave and a grid used for transcribing a recording. It’s used for sheet music with a piano and another instrument, and for sonatas for piano. It can also be used to tag an interactive computerized process in real time with markers.

Other Kinds of Manuscript Paper

We also find an infinite number of other kinds of manuscript paper on the market, including:

  • The multiphonic version, with large spaces between the staves that make it possible to add annotations such as special fingerings
  • Fragmented manuscript paper, to combine fragments of music in a predetermined, random, or circular manner
  • Unusual perpetual motion manuscript paper

There’s an impressive number of different types of manuscript paper, so each musician can find the one that suits them the best based on the instrument they play and their level of practice.