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  Electronic music stands  MartinY at 09:42 on 24 July 2009

I made a comment that I can't see electronic music stands taking over yet. I think they will be too expensive for rich retired amateur viol players let alone school orchestras for many years to come.

However might I be wrong? Has anyone any experience of using them? Will they revolutionise the business of music publishing? Will everyone be using corrupt dodgy editions because they no longer want to pay anything for published music?

  Re: Electronic music stands  IanTipping at 14:17 on 24 July 2009

Hi Martin

Speaking for myself, I agree about the electronic music stands - they are expensive, but I think another major hindrance is the preparation involved in uploading the music in the first place! I haven't ever used one, so the working of it may be far less involved than I think, although I have played using a laptop as a makeshift "music stand" on jazz gigs with the (entirely legal!) real book compilation CD-ROM, and it was quite efficient, as the band leader would call a tune, and within seconds we could all bring up the same chart and play from it. In that case though, all the prep work was already done, so it was still a turn up and play situation. I would stress we were playing indoors - not sure I'd want to take the risk of using it outdoors, particularly in this country in view of the weather we're having this summer!

I am interested in music stands and their various attributes/deficiencies - as yet I nave never come across one that gets close to being perfect. They're all either too fragile (particularly with screw threads...), too easily blown over or very cumbersome and every single one I have ever used makes page turns on outdoor gigs nigh on impossible for an instrumentalist who has to keep both hands on the instrument at (almost) all times so cannot spend time messing about with clothes pegs - as in being a jazz bassist!

If anyone has come across a design they believe to be perfect I would be very interested to know about it!


  Re: Electronic music stands  MartinY at 17:46 on 24 July 2009

The corrupt dodgy editions I was referring to are principally in 19th century and earlier music where a proper scholarly edition gives much information about what the notes are and maybe variants etc.... I am as guilty as anybody about this because many players want to be told what notes to play and can't be bothered with ficta, original pitch, variants, corrections and footnotes etc. etc. so I sometimes just leave all that stuff out. Of course if you are really fussy you can always only play from facsimile manuscripts. (I gather Bob Spencer said it was best to play from the ORIGINALS. I am sure it is because the pressure of the press on the paper makes a very clear impression but not many of use have 2 million pounds worth of rare paper lying in their music room. I have played numbers from Messiah from 18th century prints and it was very clear.)

Of course this should not be a problem for composers now as they always see their work through the press carefully and put all important information on the scores.

A little gripe ... lots of amateur composers do not write dynamics on their music. Even if you do not care it is important to give direction and intention.... When I write a new recorder consort piece I now put dynamics on though I did not used to thinking recorders could not really do anything other than around mezzo voce. My arrangements of Reger have recorders playing ppp and fff as Reger wrote. That's a bit optimistic.

  Re: Electronic music stands  mbm at 07:39 on 04 August 2009

The price of electronic music stands depends on the hardware you use, there are very cheap solutions possible, especially is you use hardware you have.
Solutions like MusicReader - Digital Music Stand Software can run on any laptop and you can also use it as you regular system. There are even addon laptop pens and add-on touch screens to add to laptops.
You can also run it on a Desktop computer or a touch screen computer like the Asus EeeTop.
If you want to use a Tablet PC then it becomes more expensive, but also these prices are dropping and the machine can be multi-purpose.
So in practice pricing depends on your usage of the hardware.

  Re: Electronic music stands  MartinY at 08:13 on 04 August 2009

I will do some experimenting with desktops and laptops before I pay any money out for any hardware.

I have tried using Sibelius in panorama mode as a music minus 1 and music minus 2 system but it does not advance the music quick enough so you loose a bit at each frame end. Using a mixture of the computer and printing on bits of scrap paper seems to be the easiest even now. I have even been reduced to printing on paper, cutting up and tampering with real paper because I could not get the editing software to do what I wanted.

I suppose it is all fun and better than when one had to do pasteups on a huge scale to get performing material.

  Re: Electronic music stands  MartinY at 08:38 on 04 February 2011

I have experimented with a laptop and reformatting music larger in landscape and it works..... but does it actually consume more resources than just printing it out on the back of already one side printed paper? I think it probably does if you are not using electronic ink like the Kindle.

  Re: Electronic music stands  davemacdo at 22:48 on 08 February 2011

An eInk display like the Kindle's would be great because of the low power consumption and the lack of a glowing light shining in the players face. (I think that might look a bit odd from the audience.)

The big drawback of eInk is that it doesn't refresh very quickly. The tech is getting better all the time, but I think we've all seen (or been a part of) some pretty disasterous page-turning situations with paper music. What happens if your music display freezes or hangs while you're trying to turn the page?

There would be plenty of convenience added for digital display. Networked music stands could allow composers to make changes DURING rehearsals. (that would be absolutely magical!) Conductors could zip everybody to the place they wanted to rehearse. Maybe they could even highlight notes on a player's stand. We've also probably all seen confusion when conductors try to describe exactly what note or passage they're talking about.

Bottom line: this will be great ONLY if it saves time. Time is money in a big way in large ensemble rehearsals. If confusion or unreliable gear makes rehearsal take longer. Digital stands are sunk.