- 1). Purchase a ream or notebook of manuscript paper. Manuscript paper already has the ubiquitous four lines of the staff printed across the page several times. While it is possible to draw the lines yourself, those in the music world use manuscript paper as a standard to ensure accuracy.
- 2). Check out a music manuscript from a library. This will likely be a reproduction--rarely the original--version of the composer's handwritten composition. Although computerized programs are more and more common in today's music, it is important to learn how a professional writes out his music.
- 3). Study the music and notice the fonts and styles used when writing the music. In a good piece of sheet music, there will be clear markings of notes and rests, ample space between the notes and bar lines, and logical and legible written commands (such as tempo and expression markings).
- 4). Copy a few measures of the music onto the manuscript paper as directly as possible. Be literal in the transcription of note shapes (i.e., round and dark), accidentals (i.e., a flat is a line with a half heart at the bottom), and accent markings.
- 5). Write out your own music using the same stylistic patterns as the studied composer's work. Don't forget that each system begins with a clef indication and the key signature.
- 6). Ask a musician friend to play the music by sight reading, and see how well she does. If something is unclear, see if you can work out with your friend a more legible way to communicate that piece of music. The ultimate goal of sheet music is to have someone who has never studied or heard the music before be able to play the piece as the composer intended.
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