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Composers and Arrangers: One Way to Help Ensure Your Musical Legacy Survives Your Time on Earth

Composers and arrangers often wonder how their creative legacy will survive their time on earth. One way to ensure that happens is to create a digital archive of all archive-worthy creative works, both locally (at their fingertips) and in the cloud. If one has handwritten manuscripts one can scan them to PDFs to archive them electronically and keep the paper masters in file cabinets. However, this will more likely ensure that the creative works fade into obscurity.

Most composers and arrangers today use music notation software such as Finale™ or Sibelius™. While this clearly helps to get their music into the hands of musicians today and also into a more permanent state for both types of archiving, if the writer lacks music notation "chops," then they are leaving their music in an unfinalized state for posterity.

The main skill set I bring to bear as a freelance musician atypically comes in the form of my abilities as a sheet music engraver and editor. I have been freelancing since I was laid off from my job as Senior Editor at ECS Publishing Group last June due to the economic toll caused by the pandemic, and have since been trying to build a clientele. One client is a composer who made a living mainly as a singer. This person has a relatively large oeuvre of both choral and piano works. Some of them have been performed, some have published, but most of them remain in obscurity. This composer is talented; the affected creative output does not deserve this fate.

Enter our professional relationship. I sent out an announcement when I was laid off that I was available to help composers with their music notation-related needs and that composer responded. The result is that we are going to work together to see to it that the entire creative output of quite messy but musically substantial Finale™ engravings survive him by being professionally edited by me.

We worked out a system where the composer makes an FTP folder on dropbox.com, and subfolders containing each project the writer intends to complete with me. The composer also invited musical heir to share the folder. This way at least three people are given access to the folder so that, if anything happens to either or both of the other folder administrators, the contents of the folder will continue to be shepherded into the future.

As each title is completed the composer then has the option of sending it to performers, to a publisher, or to self-publish it either on their own website or on distributors’ websites such as sheetmusicplus.com or jwpepper.com. Given that we complete the entire oeuvre which we are on track to do, the entirety of that creative output will live with both distributors and publishers. I have made certain to do the same thing for my own music via my heirs. At the present writing, all of the archive-worthy music I have ever composed or arranged is either being distributed or published, and I have made plans for after my passing. I am not losing any sleep over my creative legacy. Don’t let your musical legacy fall into obscurity. Protect your legacy by getting it professionally edited today. Contact me via my newly remade website’s email address.

#musicallegacy


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