As time permits, I am gradually converting my old paper scores to a digital format. The reasons are many: Digital files take up no space. They are easily altered and updated. They never fade and never smell musty. They aren’t a fire hazard, blah, blah, blah.
But one thing paper has that digital copies don’t have is personality. All those old scores, written neatly in pencil in my hand, stained with whatever was spilled on them in the studio, smudged with eraser marks and peppered with barely legible changes – those scores had personality. And like little time capsules, they captured bits of me at a particular moment. (A much younger me – for what it’s worth.) That’s something a digital file can never do.
I know full well that music doesn’t really exist for the sake of paper. Real music exists in time. We merely capture it on paper for the sake of making it come to life. And since I have recordings of all these old scores, I’ve really not lost anything. But – I just went to the local recycling place and dumped a fairly large pile of old jingle scores and such into the paper bin – and it felt really weird.