Paperless music for bands Author: Raymond Morris October 2018 Middle aged and younger readers will see the phase out of paper sheet music and the general use of compact low-priced display devices. The price of band arrangements will plummet because the vendors will no longer incur printing, storage and distribution costs. Each band musician will be expected to provide their own display device compatible with a universal standard. Problems to be overcome Scanning of existing sheet music Long established bands hold large libraries of sheet music including some that are one hundred or more years old. Some of this paper is fragile. It has to be hand fed onto a flat-bed scanner and cannot be fed through a magazine. Some of these pages are larger than today’s standard metric A4 pages (8.3 x 11.7 inches) or American letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) so they need a scanner larger than regular flat-bed scanners. Some of these pages are smaller than metric A4 or American letter size pages and those pages can be expanded to provide better legibility. March cards are a good example of this. Some bands might choose to purchase new music in electronic format rather than pay for the scanning of their entire library but a lot of band music will be unobtainable from outside sources and scanning will be the only option for those sets of music. Copyright Copyrights laws will require amendment to recognize the need for electronic reproduction and to provide reasonable protection for copyright holders. It is in nobody’s interests to make lawbreakers out of all of us. Limited visibility Right now in the year 2018 an increasing number of musicians are using electronic displays to display a single page of music at any one time on screens that are significantly smaller than the original sheet of paper. They can split the display into two half-pages; they can program each individual instrumental part to automatically skip to a particular page to accommodate “D.S.” “D.C.” and “To Coda” skips but this burdens the musician with extra complexity. They can use a foot pedal for skipping forward to the next page or skipping back to the previous page but they cannot see what is coming on the new page in advance and they commonly miss playing some notes after each page turn. The musician needs to be able to see two life-size pages of music at the same time just like they can do with paper music. In fact the musician could completely eliminate the problem of bad page turnovers by viewing pages 1 and 2, then pages 2 and 3 and so on. Pedals A set of page-forward and page-back pedals would be used. Wireless pedals are more expansive than pedals that have a USB cable. Lap-top or note-pad computer The player of a grand piano or electronic keyboard can rest a laptop or notepad computer above their keyboard, either with its own large monitor or with a second larger monitor. However these are too bulky for use on a music stand for other musicians. Touch-screen tablet Excellent music-display applications exist for IPAD and ANDROID tablets but now in the year 2018 there do not seem to be any IPAD or ANDROID tablets large enough to display two full-size pages of sheet music. The Samsung 18.4 inch ANDROID tablet might be a usable compromise but although advertised it seems impossible to purchase a new one of these. Dual-screen devices Two or three manufacturers can provide a dual-screen display device that hinges together like a book and displays two full-size pages. These have three drawbacks. 1. A special pen must be used instead of the user’s finger. 2. There is no back-lighting so a dance-band musician would still need to use a stand light. 3. They are very expensive ($1600 U.S. dollars). Future devices The dual-screen display device seems to be the way of the future but the price will have to be halved before most musicians will buy one.