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Avoiding page turns


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Dear all,

A friend of mine has a morbid fear of page turners peering over his shoulder during performances, and has created a number of editions of works with minimal page turns, easily managed by the player; he's given me permission to share some of them here.  They're designed to be printed on A3 landscape sheets - if, like me, you don't have an A3 printer, any decent print shop will print them for you.  He punches holes in them and puts them in an A3 ringbinder (easily available online), but I've just put the ones I've used into the comb binder.  No particular editorial ability is claimed, and if you spot any misprints there's an email address for reporting.  If these seem useful, I'll ask if if I can pass on his other editions.

All the best,

B

Dubois, P. - Prelude et Fugue (Douze Pieces Nouvelles).pdf

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10 hours ago, Brizzle said:

Dear all,

A friend of mine has a morbid fear of page turners peering over his shoulder during performances

LOL. I remember, many years ago, playing the piano for a violinist, now a professional violist, who was doing his Grade VIII. Two of the pieces spring to mind. The first was a Mozart Rondo with a very long piano introduction. the second was some Poulenc, I can't remember the piece, but I do remember the piano part was horrendous. It was a piece that needed considerable preparation on my part before we even thought about putting it with the violin. Anyway it all worked out quite well and we went to the exam.  We arrived at the exam room and, as we were going into the exam I asked the steward who the examiner was (I was also an Ass. B. examiner) to be told it was Geoffrey Pratley who had been accompanist to Janet Baker as well as Tortelier and the violinist Ralph Holmes both of whom I knew. I was not happy!! We got into the exam room and played the first piece, can't remember what it was and the Mozart and I was preparing the Poulenc on the piano music stand when Geoffrey Pratley commented on a really awkward page turn in the middle. Would I like him to come over and page turn for me? My only retort was "You stay where you are!!!!" He smiled and afterwards, I was quite pleased, complimented me on my accompanying adding "and you're not a pianist are you?"

As a pianist/organist I hate someone looking over my shoulder. As a 'cellist, which is what I really am, I have always sat 'outside' when playing in an orchestra and can't ever remember turning a page in my life!!

Your friend's creation isn't rocket science - but very useful I would think! It would have been very handy with the Poulenc - it's practical - but is it legal and could it be used in, for instance, an Ass. B exam?

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A worthy project. I’ve tried A3 landscape scores in the past but found the  long “systems” disconcerting - it’s such a long way back from the end of a line to the beginning of the next one. 

I’ve also tried A3 portrait. This has the advantage that the lines aren’t so long and I can fit three sheets on the music stand. But staring up into the stratosphere for the top lines is, again, disconcerting, especially when you’re at the extreme top left or right (and inevitably the hands will be at the opposite extremity of the keyboard at this point).

Recently I’ve been experimenting with a new method involving joined A4 sheets (conventional enough) but in a slightly counter-intuitive layout. I don’t suppose I’m the first to come up with this, but it’s not a method I’ve seen or read about. It reduces the number of pages turns (not actually turns, but removes) considerably - a sixteen page score only needs four turns/removes. That’s useful, but the great advantage is that you have a page in hand whilst your turner does the removing, so there’s much less stress for both turner and player, and minimal disruption for the player.

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You do see people using A3 comb bound art books which they glue photocopied sheets into. I have done this for a few pieces - for example, the JSB chorale prelude Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam - but if there are lots of pages, I find I have to shrink the music so small, I then can't read it well enough - this is a problem with perpetuum mobile type pieces where your hands can't leave the keys. I was hopign to play the Nicholas Choveaux piece based on Lasst uns erfruen for the Feast of St Francis on Sunday, but once the Toccata kicks in, and there is no opportunity to make a page turn, I now find I just can't read it sufficiently well in the edition I have produced. You can see Daniel Cook managing all of this sort of thing very well in some of his Youtube contributions - and I have learned a lot by observing him - though it is only common sense. Thing is, I can normally rely on a page turner.

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If copyright permits you to have your music on a tablet device, you can now get software that recognises facial gestures to turn the page. ForScore is one of the apps out there but I'm sure there may be others.

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1 hour ago, Choir Man said:

If copyright permits you to have your music on a tablet device, you can now get software that recognises facial gestures to turn the page. ForScore is one of the apps out there but I'm sure there may be others.

Ingenious, tho’ the opportunity is there for things to go radically wrong!

(Grimaces at wrong note. App interprets as instruction to turn page. Grimaces at this and the app does it again ....)

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14 hours ago, Brizzle said:

Having intended to post three more editions, the forum seems not to want to let me - file size too big.  Anyone know how to avoid this issue?

Maybe upload them to IMSLP, copyright permitting? It's the go-to site for out-of-copyright sheet music downloads, and would probably reach a much wider audience.

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I'm told I look angry while I'm playing, although I'm sure it's just my concentrating/thinking face, so facial or even verbal recognition for page changes is a feature I should probably avoid.

I have tried a couple of Bluetooth based page turners for use with my tablet, as I've found that swiping its touchscreen is not reliable or repeatable enough. I bought a device with two foot switches, aimed inter alia at musicians, which can be programmed for a number of functions, including page forward and back. Functionally it's great, but the foot pedals are short squishy things with no physical switch feeling which make the experience very uncertain. I plan to buy a couple of proper organ foot switches to replace the existing ones, and then experiment with how to use them. On my electronic this will be no problem as there is ample ledge space on the pedal board, but on my pipe organ, and many others, placement might be a problem.

On YouTube there is a video of Pär Fridberg playing Vierne 3 at Hedvig Eleonora church in Stockholm, from a tablet. In the comments he explains that an out-of-sight colleague was changing the pages for him from a wireless device, as well as managing registration via midi. A nice idea if you don't like being overlooked or, as in the case of a local organ with a side console, there is simply no space for a page-turner, even if it's your better half.

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I’ve tried out a couple of ways of storing scores digitally, and I’m not convinced they make life any easier.  My main dislike is that, since the devices usually only display one page at a time (for the sake of visibility), the number of page turns is actually increased, and has to be thought about more often.  In addition, the methods of turning the pages never seem particularly reliable; the face gestures don’t always work (especially if your device is being a little slow), the Bluetooth buttons sometimes drop their connection, and swiping at the screen is a recipe for disaster.  That’s why I’ve been keen on the editions my friend has made - they fit as many bars on a large page as possible, and fit the page turns into places where they cause the least issue - for example, he’s made an edition of a Bach sonata where each movement fits comfortably on a double page spread, requiring no page turns whilst playing, and there’s an edition of Saint-Saens preludes and fugues where page turns only occur when one or both hands aren’t playing.  For me, this is eminently more practical than the electronic versions - especially since you can write on them, quickly, with whatever scribing implement you have to hand, and you don’t have to worry about draining batteries...

B

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Does anyone know of an equivalent Android facial recognition app that could turn pages?

I've completely moved away from paper scores now. For recitals I use a 13 inch Hanspree tablet and Bluetooth foot pedal page turner (around £50 on Amazon) that is just beautiful. It works flawlessly and allows my page turner to click from a couple of metres away forwards or backwards. Its battery lasts around 50 hours of playtime before needing a recharge. It avoids the need to physically touch the screen, which very rarely can result in in disaster if you accidentally swipe the piece away or cause it to resize.

I seem to recall that a "Tablet page turn" piston was added to the Kings College Cambridge console during its most recent rebuild.

At home my (Hauptwerk) organ has a 26 inch central monitor which I use as a music desk, mounted behind a thin protective Perspex screen for the rare occasions that I still use sheet music. Mostly I display two page fullscreen music pdfs, mostly from IMSLP, using Foxit (which I like because it can be set to open by default to fullscreen mode and is highly customisable as well as being freeware). I have a thumb piston and a duplicate toe piston for page advance, and one of each for page back. It is very easy to annotate pdf documents with registrations, fingerings and pedalings.

Here's the really clever thing. If I print the music as a pdf file duplicating each page, when I open the score and click the page advance, each double page spread moves over by one page so the right hand page becomes the new left hand page, and the next page goes onto the right. Tricky pageturns become a thing of the past, difficult passages that spill over a page simply cross over onto the facing page. True it means I have to advance the page turn every page rather than every two pages, but when practising difficult passages it completely overcomes the difficulty of inconvenient page turns. And all at the cost of an extra megabyte or so of hard drive space.

A recent Klais organ was notable for having touchscreen monitors as the stop jambs, but I would suggest that a very sensible addition to consider adding to any new pipe (or digital) organ console design should be a large monitor in place of or behind the music desk like my example below.

Salisbury2.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 30/09/2020 at 11:45, Richard Fairhurst said:

Maybe upload them to IMSLP, copyright permitting? It's the go-to site for out-of-copyright sheet music downloads, and would probably reach a much wider audience.

Have these appeared there yet? I can't see anything in the recent uploads section, and would be most interested to see more!

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On 30/09/2020 at 22:24, Contrabombarde said:

A recent Klais organ was notable for having touchscreen monitors as the stop jambs,

I can't for the life of me see how touch screens are a practical advance on stop knobs.  It's the easiest thing in the world to grab and pull a bunch of modern, electrically controlled stop knobs. Pressing three knobs on a touch screen simultaneously surely must require greater precision. (Is that even possible? The last time I encountered a touch screen you could only activate one stop knob at a time, but that was quite a few years ago.)

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Touch screens certainly aren't a practical advance, but they are an effective way to reduce costs.  Custom metalwork, switches and wiring are labour intensive and surprisingly expensive by comparison.  I'm afraid you get what you pay for these days!  The only practical way out is to programme combinations in advance, which doesn't really help when improvising.

Edited by john carter
typo
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If you have a large format tablet, then you could always upload your sheet music to that. I'm not 100% sure on exactly how it works, but I think it works by the tablet recognising a physical signal from you, it could be a nod of the head or something like that, in order for it to turn the page for you, allowing you to keep your hands on the manuals. 

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16 hours ago, carrick said:

If you have a large format tablet, then you could always upload your sheet music to that. I'm not 100% sure on exactly how it works, but I think it works by the tablet recognising a physical signal from you, it could be a nod of the head or something like that, in order for it to turn the page for you, allowing you to keep your hands on the manuals. 

Yes - see the video of Richard McVeigh reviewing one such system in the Philip Wells posting above.

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On 30/09/2020 at 07:44, S_L said:

LOL. I remember, many years ago, playing the piano for a violinist, now a professional violist, who was doing his Grade VIII. Two of the pieces spring to mind. The first was a Mozart Rondo with a very long piano introduction. the second was some Poulenc, I can't remember the piece, but I do remember the piano part was horrendous. 

I read this to my wife this morning, who played the same piece for grade 8 violin many years ago. She told me that the examiner watched the piano accompanist all the way through with evident appreciation! He must have been listening to her as well, as she got a distinction :-)

At the end of one of my own piano exams the examiner asked me if I was an organist. She said my sight-reading gave me away. I still don't know exactly what she had spotted - perhaps me reaching for the non-existent swell pedal during some dynamic parts.

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5 minutes ago, Damian Beasley-Suffolk said:

At the end of one of my own piano exams the examiner asked me if I was an organist. She said my sight-reading gave me away.

When I have been sussed in the past, it has usually been my finger substitutions in legato passages that gave me away!

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4 hours ago, Damian Beasley-Suffolk said:

She said my sight-reading gave me away. I still don't know exactly what she had spotted 

Possibly that you were good at it. Church musicians (singers as well as organists) don’t always give themselves enough credit for their sight reading skills - even amateurs of moderate ability take for granted (because it’s necessary and expected) a level that’s actually pretty high.

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  • 1 month later...

I do the 'digital' version of photocopying, cutting and gluing.

I scan the music as a .jpg (a picture) then copy/paste into Microsoft Publisher.

Publisher is a paid-for programme, part of Microsoft's office suite, I think it's about £70 per year for a paid-up Microsoft account and it does give you access to various other things like 1Tb cloud storage and proper support. I use Publisher for various other aspects of my church work and find it very easy to use and very useful.

So, I scan a page of music, then use the basic built-in editing functions on my laptop to 'cut out' the various music systems I want and paste them into a Publisher page, they can then be moved around and resized using the tags that appear in the corners of the various boxes containing the music. I often reduce the system size at this stage to fit more systems onto a page, doing this makes the page narrower in which case I trim the printed page down accordingly, this then allows you to fit more pages onto your music desk. There is very little loss of 'sharpness' and the end results can look very professional. 

If I'm reducing the system size considerably I regard the final copy as a 'performing only' version and do all the learning from the original.

Another way to do this would be to scan your music as a .pdf document, then use a PDF editor to do rest. However, full PDF editing software is much more expensive than Publisher.

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