Sunday, November 24, 2013

Project - Songs of the East - A.S. XLVI

The inner Title Page. I'm extremely happy with how the flourishing on the S and E came out. 

Project: A gift of thanks to Duchess Jana von Drachenklaue V, commissioned by their Majesties Gregor & Kiena: a book of Songs of the East.
Words: By many Eastern songwriters, compiled by Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge.
Binding: Master Iheronimus Br├╝ckner.
Cover Painting: Mistress Carolyne de la Pointe.
Paper: Strathmore 300 series Bristol Board.
Pens: Multiple... I know I used different sizes of Brause, Mitchell and Hiro Rond, as well as a few different pointed nibs. The most interesting was a special lining pen for the 5 line musical staff. I purchased a lining nib as well, but could not get it to work reliably.
Ink: Sepia, red and a yellow-sepia mix of Winsor & Newton calligraphy ink.
Size: The paper was 16 x 9 folded into four pages, margins for the usable area on each page were 6 3/4" by 8 3/4".

In the summer of 2011 I was asked to help on a large project - the creation of a book of songs to be given as a gift by their Majesties Gregor and Kiena to Duchess Jana upon their stepping down on October 1st. One reason I was asked to help is I have a background in music. I know enough about musical notation that I was comfortable calligraphing it.
This project challenged me in so many ways...

Since the songs were going to be bound into a book, I had to pen them as folio pages. One large sheet of Bristol Board was four pages in the finished book. There's stress when working on a scroll and knowing that if I screw up badly at the end, I'll have to redo the whole thing. That's nothing next to working on the 4th song on that one piece of paper, knowing if I screw up badly, all 4 will have to be redone. I'm happy to say I only had to restart one folio, and that was after the first song. There are a couple things I wish I had done better, but that's true of almost any work.

Spacing the words & syllables out so they all lined up vertically with the correct note took quite a bit of practice and planning.

Drawing in the musical staff and notes was interesting as well, and fairly time consuming. The notation is modern with a medieval style to it. The clefs at the beginning of the lines and the square notes look medieval but the keys and notes are modern. The shape of the notes are square, but otherwise use modern notation for rhythm, accidentals, etc. I would love some day to learn enough to pen a song in truly medieval notation, but it was too much to add to this project.

I used this project as an opportunity to force myself to work in new and different calligraphic scripts. Before this, I believe all of my work had been either in some flavor of gothic or gothic-based secretary script. Learning the additional scripts was actually a lot of fun and very confidence inspiring. It was interesting to be able to and have to choose what script to use for each song. In some cases, the line-length determined the script I chose, as I needed a narrower script to fit on the page.

All in all, it was an amazing experience, and an intense few of weeks of work.

The cover of the completed book, bound by Master Iheronimus,
painted by Mistress Carolyne.

This song was an interesting challenge as some notes & rhythms are different between the
first and second pairs of verses. In the end I decided to overlap the differences and use an
alternate color of ink to match the words to their respective notes.

I had so much fun with this hand! I wanted to use it on some other songs,
but the letters are so wide that I couldn't get them to fit on the page.

I had a lot of fun writing this very silly song in a very serious hand.
These 39 words took me a long time...
I'm happy with the hand, but annoyed that I misjudged the space for the notes.

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