13 October 2011

Music Metaphysics

The NK nib by Kubo Kohei I showed some weeks ago raises some metaphysical questions on the essence of music nibs. What is indeed a music nib?

Kubo Kohei´s music nib in steel.

This Japanese nib, let us remember now, barely shows any line variation unless was pushed down against the paper. And at the same time, the second slit does provide the extra ink flow this wider line demands.

Modern three-tined music nibs: one by Platinum (on top) and two by Pilot.

Music shiro nib by Platinum (mid 1950s).

On the other hand, I voluntarily ignored Sailor´s approach to music nibs when I compared those by Pilot and by Platinum a year ago. “Sailor´s”, I said, “lacks the visual appeal and the extra flow of the second slit. Sailor´s is more of a smooth stub than a real music nib.” But it really shows some line variation.

Modern two-tined music nib by Sailor in steel.

So, what is the essence of a music nib? Is it on the line variation? If so, mostly any stub or italic nib —broad vertical stroke and thin horizontal one— could qualify for such.

What about the three tines? Should this be the standard, what do we do with three-tined nibs showing barely any line variation, like that by Kubo Kohei?

Pilot pen from 1970s with a three-tined music nib in 14 K gold.

Some stylophiles claim that a true music nib must show some flexibility, thus dismissing all those modern Japan-made music nibs. But then, does any flexible or semi-flexible nib qualify for this category? Again, the case of Kubo Kohei´s nib comes in handy—it is not really very different from a semi-flex nib in its performance, but regular nibs showing some flexibility are not considered music nibs.

One more note on this regard. One of those wonderful specialty nibs by Sailor´s master Nagahara is named Cross Music. It has not just three tines but four by means of overlapping two nibs. The result is a very juicy point with a wonderful line variation opposite to that of a standard music nib and closer to an Arabic or fude nibs: thin vertical strokes and wide, very wide, horizontal lines.

The Cross Music nib by Sailor´s nibmeister Nagahara.

Reverse view of the Cross Music nib. The four tines are now visible.

At the end, we might conclude that a music nib is any nib the maker wanted to label as such. Just like a novel is any text under whose title the author added the word “novel.”

(Sailor Young Profit with music nib – Sailor Blue)

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, September-October, 2011
[labels: Pilot, Platinum, Sailor, Kubo Kohei, plumín, plumín musical]

1 comment:

Readymade said...

btw, Nathan Tardif (Noodler's Inks) is working on mass-producing a flexy steel Music nib too. Check out -


esp this pic:


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