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Dick Lee is a saxophone, clarinet and recorder player. He plays with pipers Nigel Richard and Hamish Moore. There’s a track by Nigel and Dick on the Watercourse compilation   album “Maoin”, and Hamish and Dick have made two albums together; “The Bees Knees” (Harbourtown label) & “Farewell to Decorum” (Greeentrax label). Since teaming up with Hamish Moore I’ve had a whale of a time committing acts of musical hooliganism with the established bagpipe repertoire and writing original music for the pipes in a similar vein. But I hope that we've also produced some moments of beauty, some music of lasting worth. I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide! - it’s not really the point of this article anyway. The point is, when you've written something that’s worth committing to paper and perhaps publishing, and you want it to look as good as possible, what’s the best method of copying it out?) There are of course many excellent copyists around, and there’s a section of the Musicians’ Union called The British Music Writers’ Association who can provide a list. But for the specialised requirements of music for the pipes, particularly grace notes, you'll on the whole be restricted to handwritten copying out because computer music printing programmes aren’t designed to cope. I'm not decrying hand copying by any means; it produces results that range from good to excellent, depending on the skill of the copyist. However, when Hamish recently invited me to contribute some of my tunes to his book “The       Rumblin’ Brig” I decided to go for printing.

I've been printing and publishing my own and other people’s music for several years now under the name of Octavo Music, using the Notator sequencing/scorewriting package for the Atari STE computer. It's a great program which does everything except make the tea - and print grace notes! I thought it would be ironic to have to go to a copyist or copy my tunes out myself by hand after spending more on the program than I spent on the computer itself, so I cast around for an alternative. The general quality of printed output for the main notes of tunes is fine, and it has the capacity to print all note stems downwards instead of up and down around the centre line of the stave as usual, so the only things missing are the grace notes. The text function in Notator is good - although you can’t enter much text at a time, you can import typefaces, which means that you're not restricted to the usual basic computer style for text. Any text you do enter can be printed in any style of print you like (as long as you have that typeface available on disk). This is meant to add elements of desktop publishing to the music printout; headings, lyrics etc. can add greatly to the appearance of the music on the page when they're presented in really professional typefaces. This function gave me the opportunity I was looking for; there are programs, called font editors, which let you design your own typefaces, and using one of these (The ST Club’s Fontkit Plus 3, for those who are interested) I designed a complete typeface of all the grace notes in common and not so common use on the pipes. Now, with a bit of jiggery pokery involving shifting the main notes of the tune to make room for the gracings, I’m able to produce printed scores of my music for the pipes which have the same professional look as those I’ve been producing for jazz and classical scores. I hope this is of some interest. Any computer enthusiasts are welcome to phone me for a blether about it, or write. See my "Octavo Music" advert elsewhere in this issue for the number and address.