AskDefine | Define copyist

Dictionary Definition

copyist n : someone employed to make written copies of documents and manuscripts [syn: scribe, scrivener]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a person who makes written copies of manuscripts; a scrivener or scribe

Extensive Definition

A copyist is a person who makes written copies. In ancient times, a scrivener was also called a calligraphus (pl. calligraphi). The term's modern use is almost entirely confined to music copyists, who are employed by the music industry to produce parts for individual musicians from an orchestral score or composer's manuscript.

Music copyists

Until the 1990s, most copyists worked by hand to produce parts for individual musicians. To produce written parts, copyists used a calligraphy pen and manuscript paper. In the 1990s, copyists began using proprietary computer software packages which can produce instrumental parts from a digitally-stored and edited full score. Scoring programs include Finale and Sibelius).
Both handwritten and computer software part-preparation require a significant understanding of musical notation, music theory, the musical styles and conventions of different styles of music (e.g., regarding appropriate ornamentation), and strong attention to detail and past conventions.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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