Monday, April 02, 2012

Adventures in Noligraphy

Last night, while looking for a blank sheet of paper to write down a musical idea, I came across a manilla file folder. I decided to try my Noligraph on it, and found that it took the ink really well (something that normal cheap paper doesn't always do to my satisfaction). This morning I boldly opened up the folder to its full and impressive width, made some broad and bold Noligraphic staves, and had the most wonderful time writing. The file folder paper is extremely durable, just the right color, takes pencil very well, erases well (always a good thing), and allows for a stable enough surface to write on while the paper is on a music stand. It's also cheap (a box of 100 costs $10).

What I like best, though, is the size. I love the staff size that the Noligraph offers, and I love the fact that I can continue a musical thought (at this size) without having to go on to a new system after a measure or two.

Some composers proudly claim that they never write at the piano--that they do everything in their heads. I find that there is nothing like being able to hear the actual sound of the instrument in real space while I am writing for it. And this file folder music paper sure makes it satisfying.

[Update: you can download the completed piece here.]


Carl said...

I recommend single tab file folders - yum, they're the best!

Sean said...

Fantastic! I wonder it:

"NO-li-graph-y", or is it "no-LI-graph-y?" :)

Elaine Fine said...

No-li-GRAPH-ic falls off the tongue most comfortably, which would make No-LI-graph-y a better choice than NO-li-graph-y for me.

Susan Scheid said...

What I love about this post most of all is that you use real paper--not to mention that nifty little noligraph--to write your music!

Anonymous said...

I can't seem to find a Noligraphy pen available in the US. Any suggestions?

Elaine Fine said...

I ordered mine online from Germany!

Sean said...

Sorry for the poor photo, but prior to learning about the Noligraph I thought I had invented something:

It turns out, the Noligraph is just a holder with 5 mini-ball pen refills. You can make one yourself rather inexpensively and it works all the same.

This was about 4 or 5 years ago and I was looking for info about the Stravigor. Unable to find much, I came up with this solution. I like to call it an "original" idea, and by that I mean, it was "originally" someone else's. :)

Elaine Fine said...

This is brilliant, Sean! Did you make THOSE lines with your home-made device? I have to try this!

Sean said...

Thanks, Elaine. Yes I used a ruler and made those lines. You can buy the mini refills by the dozen for a few dollars on eBay.

First, I just line them up against a straight-edge and a book or something (to make sure they're all straight), then just "tack" them together with a piece of scotch tape across the tape to make sure they stay together. I add a couple of longer pieces after that to secure them.

Then I cut out two pieces of cardboard from the back of a legal pad and taped them tightly to the refills, and viola! err..voilà! My extremely limited-edition staff-liner. :)

Sean said...

I meant to say

"...scotch tape across the top..."

Elaine Fine said...

A ruler! What a concept! I just ordered some Schmidt mini refills so that I can make my own. The ink in the Noligraph is "iffy" at times. Thank you so much for sharing this idea. Perhaps we need a new name for this improved device!

Sean said...

what's nice is that you can use those refills to replace those in the Noligraph, too.

Sean said...

Just some off-the-cuff name ideas:

(following your lead [counterpoint pun]) Staffvergnügen or Linienvergnügen
Schmidt Happens
FreeStaffer (Not really free, but...)
Stave the Day
Come Line With Me
Clef Diver

Those are all pretty bad, but I kind of like "FreeStaffer".

Elaine Fine said...

@ Anonymous

(My husband just reminded me that he got it for me--from Germany--as a present.) But I seriously suggest trying Sean's idea.

@ Sean

Your list cracked me up (and it cracked Michael up too). FreeStaffer sounds good to me. It would be nice to figure out something that uses "rastrum" or "raster," 'cause that's what the tool ultimately is.

Sean said...

Yeah, I was trying to fit one of those in there...

How about "Carpe Rastrum" = Seize the Rake!

Some others:
Well "iPod" is taken, so...
Pentegraph from Greek 'pente' (five) + 'graphe' (writing)
Palomino Blackwing?

Maybe we should just use one of the random CAPTCHA 'words'.

I'm out of ideas.... :)

Elaine Fine said...


Ted said...

Hi - I stumbled across this thread because i was trying to remember the name of the little gizmo I bought at a flea market many years ago. Found it!( -- Wish I still had it!

Sean's mini-pen refill solution is cool! I'll jump in with "The Staffinator" but the reason I'm writing is to see if anyone knows the size of the staff it creates? How tall is it?


Elaine Fine said...

The Nolograph staff measures one centimeter tall.

ted said...

The Staffinator is born!

Following Sean's lead, I lucked out by ordering the 5 pack from Amazon; no cardboard or tape needed! Duco cement to hold the refills in the plastic case.

Here's a picture:

Elaine Fine said...

This is brilliant, Ted. Bravo! Here's a clickable link to the picture: