How does using music notation software affect your music? Jerome Kitzke

Jerome Kitzke
Photo by Phil Douglas

Any explanation of why I do not use a computer for score production would have to begin with the fact that I do not use a computer at all. This is in no way an ideological stance. I simply, thus far, have not needed one. Since 1975 I have used a Pentel 0.5 mechanical pencil with HB lead to produce my scores. With the aid of straight edges and templates, they end up looking much like those created on any software program, if not a bit more personal. Looks aside, the reasons I do my scores by hand are two-fold, having to do with sound/sight and time. Firstly, I am still completely enamored with the sound of pencil lead moving over paper and the sight of blank paper slowly turning into a score by my hand. There is something in the tactility of this craft that retains its wonder well into my career. Secondly, because I do not sketch, but rather think my pieces through before ever picking up a pencil, the slowness of the process after the pencil is lifted allows me the time to be quite certain of my musical thinking, a very handy thing when your first draft is also your last. In the old days I used to draw the staves as well, but now, in an indirect use of the computer, my publisher, Peer Music, custom makes blank music paper for me. Ultimately it comes down to my love for my hands-on process being as fresh and vital today as it was when I started over thirty years ago.