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My Music Moleskine

Ever since Moleskine started making their music notebook (affiliate link*)I thought they were cool, but there’s not much use for one other than music so I resisted buying one.

When I revived my guitar playing a year ago I finally bought one. I wasn’t writing music, but I wanted a place to record little riffs and bits that I picked up here and there. It actually didn’t work out. TAB is much easier to use for guitar, and that is one format Moleskine doesn’t do yet.

But more recently I restarted an interested in learning the penny whistle. And again, out came the music notebook to write down a tune I’d found – one of the bits of fife music from The Patriot. Anyway, this time it worked out much better and before long I’d filled up 15 pages with 20 tunes. Normal musical notation is perfect for the whistle – hardly any ledger lines – and it works great for putting all the tunes I’m learning in one easy to carry place.

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I’ve been using three different pens to write the tunes. A Pilot G2 gel pen in .5mm works ok, but is a tad wide. My Pelikan M200 with a home-ground italic was a little disappointing. I’d thought it would give me the roman-style line thicknesses I see in printed music, but it didn’t. It just didn’t work as well, and neither did the color of the ink. I’ve landed on my Namiki Vanishing Point in fine, black Namiki ink. It works a tad better than the G2, and is portable enough to take anywhere and toss in any bag.

Make sure ink is dry before you close the book. Little dots of undried ink in a writing journal causes no harm, and may even bring charm. In a music notebook it can cause dotted notes. Ditto with bleeding ink. This may rule out some wetter fountain pens. So far mine have been ok.

I’d thought it would be hard to write anything I’d be able to read while playing, but I actually find I prefer the denser style I write the notation in. Printed notation tends to make the bars all the same width, and allows more space to longer notes. I find that tedious to read, so I write them more densely. A whistle tune easily fits on a page or less, so it will be a few hundred tunes before I can fill up this book.

*You can assume any link is an affiliate link on this post. I own and use all of these items, and they work well for me.

3 comments… add one
  • Russell Davison March 2, 2011, 8:11 am

    Good post. I use a Moleskine pocket music book, like yours, for experimenting with guitar riffs, drum beats, etc. I have a larger 13cm x 21cm Moleskine music book for the final version of rock music that I put up on YouTube and MySpace. I’d be lost without them now.

    Each 3 minute song takes about 3 pages of the 13cm x 21cm Moleskine music book and the facing blank pages are good for writing song lyrics and settings for reverb, panning, equalization.

    • Steve March 2, 2011, 11:19 am

      Music seems to be one of those things that just doesn’t translate very well to PDA’s or smart phones. I know there are apps, but they don’t seem to work very well.

  • Russell Davison August 29, 2011, 8:08 am

    Actually, upon reading your post again, it solves a small problem for me. I standardised on a Pilot G-2 07 with black ink many years ago. I did this because I was travelling alot between the US, India and Singapore. It was less bulky to carry scanned copies of my meeting notes and, by trial and error, I found that the impressions from the Pilot G-2 07 gave the best results for reading my handwriting on a laptop LCD screen and when using OCR software.

    I am slightly disappointed with my Moleskine music books (pocket & large) because it is difficult to make sure that a crotchet in C is actually in C and not trespassing into D or sliding into B. But now you’ve solved it for me! Why don’t I, like you, use a 0.5 mm Pilot instead of a 0.7mm Pilot? Problem solved.

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