Music eReader

I was just reading a review of the new Sony Reader, and it reminded me of what I’d really like to see: an eReader for sheet music. I sing in a church choir every Sunday, and lug two large choral books, plus a paperback choral book with me. It never fails, however, that my father-in-law will pick out a song that morning for which I have an octavo with parts, but that octavo is sitting in a file cabinet back home. Personally, I would love to be able to simply download octavos/sheet music, stick in the memory of an eReader, and just carry that to church every Sunday. It should be able to store far more songs that the typical hymnal, and always allow me to have the music I need.

There are two challenges with this given what I read about the Sony technology. First, the two+ second delay to turn a page would be unacceptable. When you’re singing, you can’t pause for two seconds. Second, the device is not music aware. That is, if I’m singing from an octavo, the refrain may be on the second or third page, and there may be a repeat symbol that sends me back to it from page 6 or 7. While I’ve never used one, I’m guessing that the Sony Reader primarily supports single page turns. I would need something where I could simply tap on the repeat symbol and have it automatically jump back to the page where it needs to go. Of course, the more likely solution would be to simply store music without repeats (i.e. cut and paste the refrain to everywhere it appears), because there’s really no way for the eReader to know what verse you happen to be singing. Without knowing that, it wouldn’t know when to take first or second endings, for example. I’m sure I could work around this as the technology evolves, though.

So, I’m giving up my idea in the hopes that someone may read this and actually try to build such a device. It would certainly be worth it to me, and I’m guessing there a lot of Sunday church singers that could find it valuable as well!

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