Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

A New Digital Revolution?


Recommended Posts

I had a brain-wave!

 

Here we are in the 21st century, with the internet and downloadable music etc.

 

There we are, with silly old bits of manuscript paper, and albums falling apart, trying to read the dots and turn the pages.

 

Has anyone ever thought, that in this day of wide-screen LCD television screens, the whole of a music desk could be a TV manuscript imager/monitor? One could even scan the sheet music, and store it digitally, if that was required.

 

One push of a button, and the page would flick over instantly.

 

There could even be an edit and drawing facility for notes, registration marks and corrections (etc), which could then be stored to disc.

 

Am I ahead of my time with this one?

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

I could do with a digital music desk this evening!

 

I'm doing a concert with a soprano this evening. I've just looked at the "scores" she's given me (I have a tendency to leave everything to the last minute!) - and they're mostly loose photocopies, which is my pet hate! I think I'm going to have to get a page turner from the audience, and one who doesn't mind holding loads of sheets in order for when the repeats come up.... :P

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, this already exists. I went to a concert in Bournemouth nearly two years ago (Jeff Wayne's of War of the Worlds) and the orchestra/conductor were using them.

 

Sky has been showing the filmed version of their Wembley concert on Sky Movies over Xmas and you can see them quite clearly in the footage...

 

Effectively they are just thin tablet PCs running a score viewer - Acrobat Reader would do just fine I would think! The trick would be to make sure they are stable on the music stand and not prone to fall on the floor and break :P

 

/edit: There is one commercial version here: http://www.hammacher.com/publish/73577.asp

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder how does it work in practice with considerations such as adding fingerings, articulation? Must you have written these before you scan the original sheet music onto the system? Or can you "write" on the music using the display itself much the way you can scribe on some of these personal organisers?

 

You could take it even further and have different "channel settings" enabling different players using the same music to write their own annotations and select their particular copy when they use the music stand. Not sure how useful this is but might be helpful in a music school situation.

 

I could imagine it being useful for a string section in an orchestra if the stands were all linked up, so that the conductor/leader could mark bowings and dynamics on one copy and it would appear as if by magic on all the other player's copies.

 

However I suspect that such devices will go the way of bread-making machines i.e. used a few times then appear later on eBay or at a car boot sale.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, tried this with a laptop, but reading on an LCD screen is not always pleasant, and also the devices: batteries run out, software glitch/crashes.....

 

I think I'll stick to paper for some more time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's one on a stand - you can even annotate the music on it!

 

Paul

 

I wonder if they could deliver in time for this evening?! I've just been cellotaping all the afore-mentioned loose pages together, and realize I'm going to need blu-tak to attach the some of the items I'm accompanying her to the piano, because the page turns are well nigh impossible. The only thing I shall need now is telescopic spectacles to see the pages out on the extreme ends of the piano!

 

I know cellotape isn't ideal, but it's all I've got at the moment. So, there's me using photocopies, cellotape and blu-tak when - at the other end of the spectrum - there are those musicians lucky enough to use fancy computer screens! Oh, how the other half live - 'taint fair!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmm, tried this with a laptop, but reading on an LCD screen is not always pleasant, and also the devices: batteries run out, software glitch/crashes.....

 

I think I'll stick to paper for some more time.

I suspect these expensive models are fairly bespoke, i.e. high quality LCD with wide viewing angle/contrast ratios, solid-state storage (so no disks to spin = better battery life) and an embedded OS which is more resilient than normal consumer Windows. I have used similar devices in manufacturing situations and they are very fit for purpose.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I could do with a digital music desk this evening!

 

I'm doing a concert with a soprano this evening. I've just looked at the "scores" she's given me (I have a tendency to leave everything to the last minute!) - and they're mostly loose photocopies, which is my pet hate! I think I'm going to have to get a page turner from the audience, and one who doesn't mind holding loads of sheets in order for when the repeats come up.... :P

 

 

 

Photocopies?!!

 

I've had the unpleasant experience you refer to several times*, and some while ago I decided to make a stand. It has not lost me work that I am aware of although it has been a shock to others! These days, before I even meet would-be soloists or choirs that want accompanying, I make them confirm that they will bring original copies for me to use on the day.

 

If they cannot undertake do so, I warn them that I will not play. They are almost bound to be infringing copyright.

 

 

*The worst case was a public school choral society where an entire evening's programme could well have been illegal. They had plenty of money and just an appalling lack of scruples. In one case, one carol was written by a friend of mine. I attempted to take the Director to task and the best he could come up with was

'well, he'll be glad that we are performing his carol'.

The fact that my (blind) friend was being deprived of quite an amount of sales as a result of this cheapskate behaviour did not seem to dent his confidence or attitude at all. His next post after the public school music department was the Headmastership of a Prep School. I hope he kept within the law while he was there!

Link to post
Share on other sites
In one case, one carol was written by a friend of mine. I attempted to take the Director to task and the best he could come up with was 'well, he'll be glad that we are performing his carol'.

What appalling arrogance. Should I ever catch anyone breaching my copyrights I would have no hesitation in taking legal action.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Photocopies?!!

 

I've had the unpleasant experience you refer to several times*, and some while ago I decided to make a stand. It has not lost me work that I am aware of although it has been a shock to others! These days, before I even meet would-be soloists or choirs that want accompanying, I make them confirm that they will bring original copies for me to use on the day.

 

There's a lot to be said for that. I'll consider it.

 

This evening's concert went well, but I did have to resort to blu-tak for one of the pieces!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, for some of us it's more than an academic question. I'm in Uganda next week and rather than bring a ton of paper music with me, all my organ music is loaded onto my laptop. Which is fine, except that I still haven't figured out a way to view whilst playing, and I can't just print it out, there is too much and paper and ink in these parts is too precious a resource to waste. Suggestions keenly sought...

 

Changing topic slightly, I'm intrigued by the possibility (I think already happening) of elecgtronic organs having, rather than stop taps, complete LCD displays so that you can can replicate any organ you like as long as it has the same number of manuals as your toaster without the limitation normally resulting from fixed tabs or drawknobs with engraved stop names. Thoughts?

Link to post
Share on other sites

This idea has some merit, but certainly not until there is a replacement for LCD. LCD's backlight is just too strong to make comfortable viewing for any length of time.

 

Fortunately there is an alternative:

 

http://www.plasticlogic.com/products.php

 

Rather than being backlit, e-paper relies on ambient light to illuminate it from the front. This is almost exactly the same as viewing black and white print.

 

The good news is they are commercialising the manufacturing process and perhaps we can expect quite soon, a portable scroll which can be unrolled on a music desk, containing images of all editions of all the organ music ever written. It would be pretty easy to do once the display works! Not beyong the realms of possibility would be fitting the e-paper with a microphone and some fancy digital signal processing/machine learning algorithms, so the 'magic scroll' could acclimatise itself to your playing technique and automatically display new pages of music as you play, without assistance. You could scribble notes and registration intructions on your editions, but have a different set of notes depending on which organ the music was being played on. Perhaps it could even have Sibelius embedded into it. Or the Sunday Times Homepage for those boring sermons....

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm just wondering ...

 

How does it remember where the sticky yellow bits of post-it notes (with the registration changes for the helper) are supposed to go?

 

J

 

This is assuming the the electronic paper substrate can be unrolled rather like papyrus. Then the cylinders could contain all the electronics mentioned for some of the ideas mentioned above. 'Post-It' notes would be images overlaid onto the music image, stored in the memory contained inside the scroll. How you would input them I don't know. Perhaps someone can come up with e-paper that can be written on!

 

I know the ideas may sound far fetched, but with a few years more tech. development they are all possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites
They are almost bound to be infringing copyright.

Verdi died in 1901 - more than one hundred years ago (the longest copyright period I know of - in Mexico). The copy of his Stabat Mater I am currently singing from* has clearly printed on it "Copyright 1898" - in other words, it is not a more recent edition. But next to that anouncement, added only in the most recent printings, is the ubiquitous "photocopying this music is forbidden" sign.

 

:angry: How am I meant to take this seriously?

 

I know what the law is for, and I aim to keep within it, even though I believe it is harming music. One reason, in my mind, that twentieth century music is generally not so well appreciated is that people are still not sufficiently familiar with it - precisely because much of it is priced out of part of the market that would help promulgate it. I agree with the concept of some level of copyright protection (and I disagree with flouting it), but I think the balance is wrong at present; and the instance above seems to show that publishers are not concerned with any rights but those they conceive to be their own.

 

Maybe I'll feel better in the morning :P

 

Paul

 

* Hired from the public library for money - I am the choir's librarian.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm just wondering ...

 

How does it remember where the sticky yellow bits of post-it notes (with the registration changes for the helper) are supposed to go?

It doesn't because most of us out here in the real world do our own registration changes! :lol::unsure:

Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems about 40 years ago that I first read a copyright notice that included in its list of prohibitions "stored in a retrieval system"; at the time I must have thought "that's a bit unlikely" but now I would start scanning all my sheet music into the computer like a shot if it weren't illegal. I suppose because the market is so much smaller than that for recorded music the case for some change in the legalities will be slow to be heard; I'd have thought the right to make one "transfer" onto a digital viewing system per purchased copy wouldn't cost the publishers anything in real terms.

 

I agree that much printed music is now public domain although with regard to Verdi, copyright would subsist until the relevant period after the death of the last surviving collaborator, in his case quite possibly the librettist. I find the notice on Kevin Mayhew publications "photocopying music is illegal" annoying and not true.

Link to post
Share on other sites
with regard to Verdi, copyright would subsist until the relevant period after the death of the last surviving collaborator, in his case quite possibly the librettist.

Surely the copyright notice should reflect this; in any case, I don't think the librettist is the issue in the case of Stabat Mater!

 

Paul

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...