Artistic Score Engraving — December 2022 Newsletter


Dear all,

Welcome to the December 2022 edition of the Artistic Score Engraving newsletter. Here, in North-West Italy, it is cold, and I don’t mean outside, as that would be normal for this time of the year. It is cold inside, where we live. Our flat (and about most residential areas here) is connected to the city’s thermal heating system, which basically pumps hot water (ca. 80 °C) into our radiators and into our showers, sinks, et sim., … The issue is that, without notice, they disconnect us from the system at certain times during the day, in what non-brainwashed people would call restrictions! No one is talking about that or, most probably, who does is being obscured on social media for doing so. Please don’t believe that just because this is the Western democratic world, freedom of expression is truly a thing here because it is not.

So, how am I fighting it? Well, I’m wearing mountain clothes at home: big, thick winter socks, mountain thighs under the trousers, three ordinary layers above, and a pile fabric technical sweater. But the best part are the gloves: ten days ago, I bought those gloves with cutouts for fingertips, and they have proven to be the best purchase ever!

Now that my hands are warm, let’s begin with this month’s news.

What have I been up to?

Christmas Carols

The first half of the month has been dedicated to something I do not particularly love, but that seemed necessary at the time, that is publishing Christmas Carols arrangements. I published five of them for SATB Choir, High Voice and Piano, String Quartet, and Cello Quartet, and I am quite satisfied by the overall result. Not so much with sales, which have been quiet. I am not surprised, though, since there are plenty of services that just publish Christmas Carols arrangements during the whole year already. Still, I will be able to use them with my students, one day.

I have written five articles on the blog about them, and I suggest you give them a look here (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). Each article has a description of the piece, some of its history, and links to purchase them.

Edition 28

The second half of the month has been devoted to what, in my catalogue, is marked as edition 28. I will not spoil it here, rather encouraging you to go look on my catalogue what I am talking about! This is yet another collection of studies for cello, just much harder to play, and thus with a different target audience, compared to the Dotzauer collections I have published until now. This is not by Dotzauer, but by possibly his best student, and a composer-cellist that occupies a special place in my heart.

The edition is currently in proofreading phase. After that, I will need to create the alterative sources editions, play them through on the cello to check for any mistake, and then publish them.

It should come out by the middle of this month, stay tuned for that.

Engraving works

Renewing my gratitude for this, I have been blessed by some assignments. Money is still scarce and expenses are just ridiculous here, to the point that we are seriously considering whether we will stay in Italy much longer.

Precisely, I am about to complete a revision of the mighty piano concerto “Reflecting Black” by William Blank, I have just started a clarinet and string trio piece by a Spanish composer friend (can’t say her name until this is done!), and I am trying to get out of the maze of an aleatoric piano trio engraved in Finale and that needs to be ported to Sibelius. This will be a most painful task, because of how poorly Sibelius behaves when aggregated time signatures (e.g., 2/4 + 3/8) or aleatoric music is concerned. Plenty of corrections in Illustrator will be needed at the end of the first phase.

The big news is that, in 2023, I am going to engrave my first commissioned opera! I am studying great opera scores of the past to get ready for this immense task, and I plan to write an article on the blog on how to engrave an opera when this is over. Due to NDA, I can’t disclose any more details, but definitely I am thrilled about it!

Printing agreement

A lot has happened since my last update on this (you can read about it here) and, sadly, while a path has been found, the overall story is a bleak one. I will write a dedicated article about it because I want to be as detailed as possible, hoping that others will be able to benefit from this as well. The TL;DR version is:

  • if you are small (less than 100 editions), don’t even try to print and distribute yourself
  • printers do not care to serve you if you are small, to them you just don’t exist
  • take care of your networking, make many friends around, or you will just fail

I eventually reached a distribution agreement with a music company and, while I had hoped to have that signed by today, that was delayed so, until I have something signed with me, I do not want neither to celebrate nor to disclose any sensitive detail. If things go according to plan, I will print 100 to 150 copies of each of my scores, send them to the distributor, and they will take care of worldwide shipping at a very favourable rate.

Should this not work, I have a backdoor, but the revenue for that would be so low that I’d rather not go that route.

I will write an update article as soon as I have news. Meanwhile, if you are interested in this, please let me know. Especially, I would like you to tell me what edition from my catalogue you think I should print next.

Cappa keeps coming back!

A few days ago, I received a phone call from a great artist in the string instrument world who participated in my Cappa Festival years ago. During our conversation we jotted down many points of collaboration for the future which are just brilliant, and I am so grateful about that. Of course, as soon as there are more details that I can share, you will be the first ones to know!

Publications (and what’s coming next)

During the next year, I foresee the rate of new publications to slow down a bit. The reason for that is the necessity to prepare scores for print. While many of my scores are close to that level, once you invest in printing you will not correct any mistake until that printing run is over. This means that I have to thoroughly play through each edition many times, then record, then listen, then correct and play them again. This takes a lot of time!

The first printed edition will be ASE 0006, that is Luigi Boccherini previously unpublished Sonata in B-flat major, edited by Thibaut Reznicek (who, by the way, just recorded my edition of Piatti’s Caprice N° 7 for cello and piano, find his CD here). After that, J. J. F. Dotzauer Twelve Pieces Op. 52 will come out as I have just completed its revision. The format will be the following: a printed version containing only the Urtext, while all extra sources, including my personal recommendations, will be available online as digital download as separate purchases. The Urtext, of course, will remain available for digital download.

The current plan for what’s coming next is as follows:

  1. Publish a new edition (either a Piatti, a Dotzauer, or another item from my “to-publish” list), preparing it already for printing, should that need arise (for example, I don’t intend to print the single Christmas songs separately)
  2. Revise and prepare an existing edition for printing, then print it and send it to distribution
  3. Publish a Christmas Carols arrangement. With this, I should get to at least 20 arrangements in time for next holiday season.

Now, I would like to know what you think of this. Is there any edition that you would like to see printed first? If no-one says anything, I will print the Dotzauer collections first, then the Piatti, then anything else, also according to how much return I see from this. Every print run, while being relatively cheap for what it is, is expensive objectively, and it will take selling at least 30% of the stock to just make that money back. I will thread carefully and, of course, keep you posted.


There is still some time to profit from my Black Friday promotion (up to 12/4 at midnight, Italy’s time). This year, instead of a flat discount on everything, I created two bundles that will not be available at this price during the rest of the year. They are the Dotzauer Bundle, which includes all five Original Pieces for Two Cellos collection, and the Piatti Bundle, which contains all seven publications by Piatti released until now. Both come at a greatly reduced price over buying them separately, so be sure to enjoy this promotion while it lasts.

If you want to read the promotion launch article, please head over here. In it, I also describe all the ways in which you can get a discount on my scores throughout the rest of the year!

Learning Path

The time available to learn new skills has been fairly limited this month, so only a bit of progress in Adobe Animate and InDesign has been done. I think I managed one or two coding sessions, nothing more than that. I need to focus on widening my knowledge of notational software, which, while being my field of expertise, is by no means complete. Getting back to using Finale at a professional level is a high-priority goal for 2023, since their team is working very hard on updates, and it is still a widely used product, especially in contemporary music!

Due to the new direction with my editions, I dedicated more time to cello practicing, since I had to play through Dotzauer’s Op. 52 many times over to find mistakes (luckily only one, which was already wrong in the manuscript by the way), to add my recommendations, and to prepare it for printing. I am currently completing the first round of practicing on Bréval’s Op. 12, but at least two more will be needed before I commit that to an update. Then it will be the turn of Dotzauer’s Op. 58.

Bottom line

I believe that’s all I had to say for this month. I hope to send you more good news in the coming days and weeks. Now that I think of it, this is the last newsletter of 2022. I wish you all the best for the remaining days of this year, and only great things for all 2023! As I often said, even years are not that great, so let’s put all our efforts into making 2023 the best year ever!

The mailing list version of this episode will get the product list with the discounted links. Should you want to join that, feel free to insert your e-mail address here. If you want to actively support what I do, be sure to check out my Gumroad Support Program, it would make a world of difference.

Thank you for reading through all this, I sincerely hope that you found something useful in it.

Until next time, all the very best!


Michele Galvagno

Published by Michele Galvagno

Professional Musical Scores Designer and Engraver Graduated Classical Musician (cello) and Teacher Tech Enthusiast and Apprentice iOS / macOS Developer Grafico di Partiture Musicali Professionista Musicista classico diplomato (violoncello) ed insegnante Appassionato di tecnologia ed apprendista Sviluppatore iOS / macOS

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