Music Printing

Form preparation for music printing is a special challenge. Gutenberg´s epoch making idea of movable lead types could only be used partially, because it is much more complex to section music notes and the staff lines into single types.

Blick in die Ausstellung

Mit Bleilettern gesetzte Notenzeilen, erste Zeilen des Klavierstückes „Ritter vom Steckenpferd“ von Robert Schumann, 1838

Setzkastenschema für Musiknotensatz, Julius Klinkhardt Leipzig, um 1860

Through the centuries, there was an increasing demand for music literature, which funded new production techniques. The demand for improved readability was always very high. When improvements were made, the aesthetics of the print layout were the main focus, but it was also necessary to control the cost effectiveness of the technique.

The  exhibition on music printing in the museum shows the most important techniques of notation and printing by means of historical exhibits: the system of music-type composition invented by the music editor J. G. I. Breitkopf in 1755 in Leipzig (relief printing), music engraving (gravure printing) as well as lithography (planographic printing). Also the further development of musical notation in the course of the 20th century, until the beginning of musical notation by computer, is explained.

Moreover, the visitors are invited to print musical notes, which were composed with lead type in the museum. The working technique of the almost extinct music engraving handcraft is brought to life in a specially produced film.

For the development processes of musical notation and printing, Leipzig, the City of Music, with its important musical publishing houses played a decisive role. The exhibition offers an essential view into the historical background and context.


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