Monday, February 03, 2003

Music Notation Nibs for Fountain Pens

I have terrible handwriting. After years of basically printing everything, I started teaching myself italic script which has less loops than the Palmer Method handwriting I learned in school. Italic handwriting gets some of its readability by eliminating extraneous strokes that can cause confusion. Readability also improves by using fountain pens that have a wider, italic nib that gives the wide downstrokes and thin upstrokes that allow the letters to stand out and the connections to fade into the backgroup.

Unfortunately, finding italic nibs is pretty hard in modern times. I have a few older fountain pens that I've picked up in my travels. Aurora, an italian pen manufacturer, has several pens available with italic nibs.

It turns out that another option is to use a music notation pen. These create an extra wide line due to there having three tines in the tip rather than the usual two. The nibs are also more flexible which will allow more ink to flow on the paper. With these features and some practice, you can create thin staff lines and broad connections between notes. Two companies that offer these pens are Sailor and Platinum, both from Japan.


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