I’m very excited to announce the immediate availability of two new utilities for music printing, as well as updates to two existing ones. The new apps are PDF-MusicBinder and PDF-BatchStitch, and the updated apps are PDF-BatchScale and PDF-BatchBooklet. The apps, which come in both PC and Mac versions, can be downloaded from the Resources page of our NYC Music Services web site and were all developed by Abraham Lee.
Earlier this year I made a video demonstrating the process of assembling the pages for parts by printing the music single-sided and taping it together so that it lays out on the stand and three full pages can be viewed at once. This is known as accordion, or concertina-style. I showed a common scenario where pages 1 and 2 are printed 2-up on a page double the size of a single page, and then page 3 is printed separately as a single page.
The video shows how to assemble the paper, but how do you set up the music to be printed this way in the first place?
This is where PDF-MusicBinder comes in. PDF-MusicBinder takes single-sided PDFs that are generally outputted from notation software, and rearranges them into PDFs that can be printed on larger size paper and then folded. It can even resize the PDF in one step.
PDF-MusicBinder’s most amazing feature is its ability to automatically separate the final page of an accordion-style part into a separate binder, for only those parts that have an odd number of pages.
However, PDF-MusicBinder is not only for printing music accordion-style. You can also create ordinary booklets with it, where the music is double-sided and saddle wire stitched or stapled in the middle.
My colleague Robert Puff and I jointly commissioned Abraham to create this utility after describing to him the multiple steps we were taking to get from a series of individual PDFs into printed and folded music. Abraham created something truly amazing that has already saved me precious time in my printing workflow.
Here’s a video describing how PDF-MusicBinder works.
PDF-MusicBinder is a fast way to create consolidated PDFs for easy printing for either accordion-style layout or stapled imposed booklets.
PDF-MusicBinder takes single-sided PDFs that are generally outputted from notation software, and rearranges them into PDFs that can be printed on larger size paper and then folded. It can even resize the PDF in one step.
Let’s see how it works.
Here I have a lot of jazz charts. Most are 2 or 3 pages in length. A few are only 1 page long, and I have a couple of 4-page charts as well.
Right now they are all single-sided letter-size, or 8.5×11 inch PDFs.
I want to print them concert size, or 9×12 inches, and I want to set them up for accordion-style printing.
First, I’ll simply drag all of the files into the PDF-MusicBinder window. I can resize the window if necessary and reorder any of the files.
I’ll set the size at Concert size. If your size paper isn’t listed, you can enter a custom size.
I’ll leave it on Portrait Orientation. You can adjust the margins if you need to. You can reduce margins by entering a negative number.
In order to make the accordion–style parts, I’ll select Straight Page Order, and Allow 1-up Sheets.
You have the option for PDF-MusicBinder to automatically number your files, and you can change the default filenames and output directory if you like.
Back in the browser window, you can set the number of copies you’d like printed for each part. In my case, I need 2 copies of the Piano/Guitar part for each chart, so I’ll set those to 2, or sometimes 3 if the Voice is included.
Once that’s done, I’ll just click the Create Binders button, and, nearly instantaneously, I have two files: A 1-up binder and a 2-up binder. The 1-up binder contains the last page of any parts with an odd number of pages, as well as any 1-page parts. The 2-up binder contains all the pages of any parts 2 pages or longer, except for the final page if it’s an odd number of pages. If I specified multiple copies of any part, that’s been included in the binders, too.
You can also see that the PDFs have been resized to 9×12, or, in the case of the 2up binder, 12×18 for 2-up printing so that the resulting size when folded is 9×12.
From here, you can print the PDFs in order and then fold and tape as necessary, and everything will remain organized in the order that you specified.
PDF-MusicBinder can be used to create folded booklets as well. The process is the same, except choose Folded Booklet Order instead, and you’ll likely want to uncheck Allow 1-up Sheets.
The Number of Copies option is especially helpful here when printing orchestra music where you might have a string section with several desks for each instrument.
PDF-Music Binder will create a binder with the booklets imposed in the correct order and quantities, for easy 2-sided printing.
One of the component features of PDF-MusicBinder is its combining multiple PDFs into one file, along with the option to set the number of copies for any of the PDFs.
This feature is contained in a separate app, also newly available today, called PDF-BatchStitch. This is a very handy app to have if your PDFs are already correctly sized and set up, and you just want to combine them all into one file in order to print.
Like PDF-MusicBinder, simply drag and drop your files onto the application window, or click the Add Files button to locate them in your file browser.
Set the number of copies per part, and re-order by using the Move Up and Move Down buttons.
Click Combine to save the file. A window will appear prompting you for the file name and location.
PDF-BatchScale and PDF-BatchBooklet updates
As mentioned earlier, updates are now available to the PDF-BatchScale and PDF-BatchBooklet utilities. These utilities have been updated from their original versions with a new capability to decrypt and decompress files as needed, and they can properly handle blank pages that have been incorrectly constructed. This should allow the apps to handle certain PDFs that the apps were unable to process previously.
All four PDF utilities are available now for free from the the Resources page of our NYC Music Services web site. E-mail registration is required. Both PC and Mac versions are offered; the PC versions should run on Windows 7 and higher; the Mac version has been tested on 10.12.6 (Sierra) but should run on most recent OS X systems.
If you’ve already downloaded PDF-BatchScale or PDF-BatchBooklet, you should have received an e-mail advising you of the update along with a download link.
Abraham Lee designed these apps, and while they are free to use, donations are welcome in order to support his efforts. Feel free to drop him a line! Any questions, comments, and bug reports should be directed to him as well. You might also check out his gorgeous music fonts on his Music Type Foundry web site. At some point in the future on this blog I look forward to publishing more information about Abraham’s fonts.
Please let us know if you use these utilities. We’re glad to offer them to the community of blog readers and music creators!