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.

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

The presentation about 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 types in the museum. The working technique of the almost extinct music engraving handcraft becomes alive in a movie.

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