The kindle… what about sheet music?

May 6, 2009

kindle-dx-001From today’s Guardian:

‘Amazon today unveiled a new, larger version of its Kindle ebook reader, which is aimed at students – and heralded as a potential saviour by some parts of the newspaper industry.

The Kindle DX, which will go on sale in the US this summer for $489 (£325), has a bigger, 9.7in, screen, which can be used to display larger pages from academic textbooks and newsprint titles.’

Now… I can’t bear the idea of an electronic book.

  • I like holding books with two hands
  • I like folding the corners over (sorry)
  • I like the smell of old penguin orangebacks
  • I like lending books to friends without worrying about DRM (or whatever)

But what if this new reader can be used for sheet music? Could one write markings – dynamics/ fingerings etc – on the pages for future reference or would it be utterly un-interactive?

Would it stop me getting a hernia from lugging scores around? Can I have an A2 landscape version?

Just asking…

6 comments on “The kindle… what about sheet music?

  1. Julian Darley on

    i bought a kindle2 just before leaving san francisco in march, and have found the kindle to be far far less useful than i had hoped. even taking notes on it is, frankly, rather a tedious business. the interface is way too small and they have wasted a lot of the device’s real estate instead of going all out to maximise the screen area. the text-to-voice is a good start, but needs work to make it really a pleasure to use.
    as a former musicologist and very occasional composer i agree that the idea of using a platform like the kindle could be very useful. i haven’t seen the large kindle, but there would have to be a radical improvement in the interface to make it really usable by professionals rather than the dedicated geek.
    i agree about the tactile nature of books. i wish kindle et al success, but the book is a truly fabulous invention and at least on the evidence available so far i doubt that it will be superseded by a complex machine except in niche applications.

  2. Charles Phipps on

    I also immediately thought the Kindle dx might be used for music. It says it has native PDF capabilities so that it might not be that hard to import our scores. I’m a member of a band that’s been around in various incarnations for over fifty years and we have a lot of music (400 different songs for big band). If it was quick enough to “turn pages” while performing, that would be mostly good enough for us. Of course, the $500.00 price would have to come down before a community band could afford twenty of the things but at $250 or so, it would be tempting. Maybe some rich bands can try it and let the rest of us know how it turns out.

  3. Pete on

    I too am excited about the new Kindle to hold sheet music. Even the first (smaller) device has enough resolution — but the size is a problem once you put it on a music stand. The newer unit I think is large enough to perform with — but with limitations.

    I play a lot of big band charts — and it would be difficult as you usually need at least two pages open at a time — and jumping to a D.S. or coda can be a problem unless the device knows how to do such things in the context of the music — which Kindle would not using PDF. Unless you can create book mark points and attach them to quick keys or something. The dedicated music displays used in the bands of Harry Connick and Gordon Goodwin handle this I think.

    I’d also like to be able to add some markup for performance — that accidental you keep missing, a mutually agreed upon cut-off count or breath mark, road map changes, etc.

    But, I think the larger Kindle would be great for fake book content and lead sheets where the vast majority of tunes fit easily on one page. It’s also nice that I think it would work nicely with conventional stands and lights.

  4. Victoria Rose on

    If page turns and DS al Codas could be handled by a Kindle DX, then I would be interested in trying one. There would have to be a hands free way of doing this with multiple pages.

    Presently I use a MusicPad Pro (available on Amazon for $899) for displaying sheet music. It has a large, high definition colour screen, adjustable backlighting, page turns accomplished by a foot pedal, and programmable Codas.

    You can make annotations in color on the touch screen. It’s a pricey gadget but has served me well for over 4 years.

    The MusicPad is not perfect. It must be used indoors, as its LCD display cannot be read in sunlight. It does not read PDFs natively, and the user is required to convert scores to a proprietary format only readable on MusicPads.

    AirTurn is another option for those of you with tabet PCs. Google them to see what I mean.


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