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A Little Talk About Programs.

Lettres de forme are trim,  elegant, decorative; lettres de somme are apt to be coarse and plebeian, especially the capitals, and should be avoided. Fat letters are difficult to work with. There is neither dignity nor grace in round bodied forms as a rule.

It is bad form to indicate the Christian names of the composers on a program by initials. J. S. Bach and W. A. Mozart are irreverent, to say the least. It is better either to write out the entire name, Johannes Sebastian Bach, or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or else to give up the Christian names altogether and simply put down Bach, Mozart.

In trying to work two styles of type together, as in the case of Old English and Roman, be cautious in the employment of Gothic, or black letters. There is an offensive lack of shadow in these styles that makes

them very difficult to use in such delicate effects as programs demand. Roman capitals or even Elzevir make very good display indeed, and mix easily with other fonts.

How to Choose Type.

In choosing the type for a program the total effect of the opposite pages should be considered. The black represents the “color” of the picture and the white spacing between the letters introduces the neutral tints. The distribution of the color, the balance of the masses of black, is very important. The effect of the margin, too, should be calculated. The lower margin should always be the widest; but in the oblongs, in which the width exceeds the length, the difference is much less than when the usual relation of length exceeding breadth is observed. A generous margin greatly adds to the effect of a program. Narrow margins and large type are always unhandsome.

About Sizes.

In choosing the type the old terms long primer, bourgeois, pica, agate, pearl, etc., distinguish type of different sizes; but the variations are extremely puzzling to the amateur. Most type books now use another standard of size; in which the pica em is the standard, divided into twelve equal parts, each of which is known as a point, and a 12-point letter would equal one pica em in size. The pica was the eeclesiastical (sic) letter, large and black, which was used in the Roman Catholic Service Book at the beginning of each order. The service book itself was called “pye” from this letter; and to this day a mass of unsorted printer’s type is known as pie. Agate (5½-point) is the usual type used in newspaper advertisements. Brilliant (4-point) is the smallest type in use. In talking about type it is convenient to know that the face of a letter is the part which receives impression; the stem, the heavy part of the letter; the hair line, the light line connecting the stem or body marks; the serifs, the delicate lines which finish the stems.

What are Leads?

Letters are usually separated by thin strips of metal, known as leads. These make the type more open. Without leads the type is said to be set solid. In display it is often convenient to lead the type to bring the proportions of the lettering into proper relations. Type itself is also known as fat or lean, condensed or expanded, each of these terms representing width of letters otherwise similar. Some styles, however, do not admit of all these varieties, which are rather the result of commercial needs than the product of printing as an art. In correcting proof, l. c. stands for lower case or roman (rom.) letters; cap. means capitals. One dash beneath the word indicates italics, but two or more indicate larger or still larger capitals. Always correct in the margin, never in the body of the proof.

About Dates and Quotations.

It is frequently thought advisable to enrich a program with the dates of birth and decease of each composer represented. In programs where the attention of the listener should be attracted to the difference of style in the compositions played arising from the different schools of the composers, not only dates, but memoranda of nationality, and even short notes, are most helpful. Such programs should be printed in what may be called literary as distinct from display type, with wide margins for additional private notes, and on heavy enough paper to permit of their being preserved. The usual light amateur program, however, gains nothing from these reminders of the mortality of the flesh. The graveyard is more fitting than the program for an evening of pleasure for the perpetuation of such statistics.

The very dangerous practice of tacking little quotations from poets and musical writers upon every available topic of a club program is also far too common. The trouble about quotations is that different people see things differently. Several years ago a friend of mine got out a book of “Quotations for Occasions.” When the finest proofreader in New York came across “Enlarge him and make a friend of him” as appropriate to paté de fois gras at a lunch party, he was with difficulty saved from apoplexy. What seems the height of mysterious eloquence to one is bathos to another, though both may be able to enjoy the same music equally well. Beware of poetry! If, however, poetry is dangerous, wit is fatal. No sane program-maker would put anything amusing in a program. No dedication, no notice couched in a facetious mood, is pardonable where an evening of art is concerned. A “funny” introduction has killed many a lecturer, and such an offense in cold type is almost unthinkable.

Sketches Desirable.

I would make one exception, however. A good pencil sketch, if it be clever, will carry many an idea which would be unendurable in words. Where the illustrated souvenir program is considered, most rules can be broken. Such amateur art should be cultivated. Few artists’ exhibitions are given in which more or less good sketching does not appear. The musical club, if it possesses members at all capable of such work, should urge it upon them.

Programs may also be planned with kodac pictures, or little art photographs ordered by the dozen from the wholesale photographers. A little work on such occasional exhibitions of taste goes much further than coffee and cake, or similar inducements to the inner man, in keeping up the interest in a club.

The program as a matter of art is susceptible of much adornment. Sometimes it is desirable to illustrate it with pictures or diagrams. These may be produced in several ways, and if the club possesses an artist who is fond of drawing, it is possible to produce really artistic effects with very little expense.

Methods of Reproduction.

The favorite method of reproducing illustration is what is known as the half-tone process. This is a system, based on photography, in which a glass screen engraved with a mesh of very fine lines is interposed between the original and the camera. The lines thus produced in the copy afford a tone, and make it possible to reproduce a drawing in water-color or other form of art in which the outlines of the objects melt into each other without a firm outline such as that given by pen and ink. All illustrations which show this tone of mesh are half-tones.

Drawings made with pen and ink, charcoal, or other styles, possessing firm outlines and open surfaces, are better reproduced by what is known as the “direct” or “line” process. This is an exact reproduction without tone. The copy is made absolutely perfect, and has the additional advantage that it may be printed on un-glazed paper, whereas half-tones require polished surfaces, or the prints are blurred. Half-tone work may be obtained at from twenty cents to forty cents a square inch. Good line work is worth ten. As both these processes are photographic, the original may be reduced to any dimensions required. The printing can be done in a variety of colors also. Brown softens the effects, and red clears and covers up defects which would be apparent in black. Olive-greens print clear. Avoid hard aniline blues, pinks, or purples. They mix with nothing and are unsatisfactory.

A Very Pretty New Style.

Very pretty programs are now made by using an eight-page folder of rough paper on which the field for the illustration has been smoothed by pressure with a die. This makes a little indentation for the cut and thus provides a frame. The reverse of the surface smoothed by the die is, of course, unfit for printing. The program must come upon pages which have not been smoothed, or else upon the same page as the cut. The folding, however, provides for this, and the effects obtained in this way are charming. Half-tones will print on surfaces thus prepared, as well as line work.

Very small clubs do not need to resort to the printer for their programs. Paper which can be cut into any sizes can be obtained in large sheets as the wholesale houses get it from the mills. The genius of the club can then prepare the original exactly as it is to look, and the whole can be reproduced in its entirety by a cheap process of photolithography. Or, better still, each program may be different—a work of art in itself.


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