PAUL CAREY has started a series of posts on music publishing, starting with the old way:
The publisher would have to proof the scribbles of the composer (and I mean scribbles!) and then set about creating a layout, with EVERY ELEMENT then punched into a zinc metal plate, BACKWARDS for every page! Ponder that for a moment. Whether a simple little Schumann song, or a Dvorak string quartet, or Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring- everything was HAND PUNCHED by extremely diligent craftsmen onto metal plates, which then were sent to the printing presses. Think of the enormous variety of elements within a musical score- each note, beam, slur marking, each hairpin dynamic, each fermata, etched into a metal plate by hand! I think the younger you are, the more you may be unaware of how printing music used to be accomplished before computer engraving software such as Finale or Sibelius. What we have with Finale now would seem like absolute wizardry to people from the past.
I’ve always agreed with the idea that “these are the good old days.”