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.
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.