Monday, May 23, 2005

Digital music stands

Suppose instead of black sheet metal, the music stand back was an LCD, and you displayed the current music. I notice that some people like to have three sheets worth visible at a time, and suspect that that would probably be a good size to use. (Hundreds of years of human interface experience here . ..) This centralizes the page-turner's job: one for an orchestra.

The image of each instrument's music is displayed, three pages worth at a time, with an overlaid image (in a different color) representing the annotations the musician wants to have on his copy. That suggests that a stylus and sensitive screen would be useful additions. And in another color, the conductor's notes?

Do you move the music abruptly, or smoothly scroll the images to the left? That might be a matter of taste--selectable.

This scheme has a few obvious advantages: no problems with lighting, no page turning problems, no dropped papers, changing music is easy, and so on.

It doesn't necessarily remove the need for sheet music, for when the artist has to practice by himself, though if the price of these drops far enough he might have one of his own.

These stands are obviously more expensive (and orchestras don't need a lot of new expenses), but if the price of flat screens drops enough they might be affordable. The stands need cabling, and a server, and a new person to coordinate with the conductor. Still . . .