I remember seeing something like that long ago but can't remember what it was called. It is basically a metal gadget that holds 5 pencils or only pencil led and you can draw by hand your own empty staff. Anybody know?

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    The only ones I've seen use chalk and are used exclusively on a chalk board. When I'm looking to draw a staff, I just print staff paper from the internet. Commented May 12, 2012 at 16:56
  • I agree, Reina, that's all I've seen. It would be pretty simple to make one for pencils (golf pencils would be best) out of stiff wire and soft wood for a handle. Commented May 13, 2012 at 1:40
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    Although sound convincer really only asked what it was called… I'd call it a music-staff-drawing-gadget. I doubt it has a real name per se, unless it's a particular brand. Commented May 13, 2012 at 1:41

2 Answers 2


It's called a rastrum.

The rastrum came into use in preparing copper-plate engravings for music printing. It was simply a fork that one dragged across the plate to "score" the surface. Rastrum is Latin for rake.

As for constructing such a tool samizdat (DIY), I see potential in a paperclip, 5 ballpoint refills, and a pair of chaining pliers. I'll say more as soon as I buy some ballpoint refills.

Edit: ballpoint paperclip rastrum

It's easy to make with cheap materials, but it works poorly. Paperclips are too flimsy. I either need stronger wire or longer wire. Or perhaps a carved wooden frame.

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    I felt especially guilty as it was these votes which gained me the 'moderator tools' priviledge. I had to confess it before I got in trouble. :) Commented May 20, 2012 at 5:56
  • I don't think you should be too embarrassed at this. You answered the question (It's called a "rastrum"), and gave a proper link for reference. It's not your fault that this question called for a short answer. Your answer was actually more correct than the answer by Nix (he gave examples of products, but neither gave the general name for the thing).
    – awe
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 12:45
  • It's sad that a dozen pens is cheaper than a dozen refills. :( Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 9:30

This isn't exactly what you asked for, but similar idea: noligraph. You could also buy a 5-line pen nib like this Brause one.


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