Ask LH: Can I Use A Tablet For Sheet Music?

Dear Lifehacker,
I am a musician looking for a tech solution to replace my sheet music with. My sight is poor at best, and because of that all my music is enlarged to A3 and filed in A3 folders. I’ve used this trick for a while but it is becoming very cumbersome and I am currently searching for a better solution.

One of the options I have been considering is getting a large tablet that I’ll be able to put on my stand, but anything smaller than 15 inches will be too small for me to read, and tablets at this size are more or-less non-existent. Any ideas? Another worry I have is that a conventional music stand will not be stable enough to hold my eventual solution and I fear my new tech may be damaged by falling off the stand. Any advice? Thanks, Tuning Up

Sheet music picture from Shutterstock

Dear TU,

While it’s true that seven-inch and ten-inch tablets are the norm, there are a handful of plus-sized options out there. Some recent examples include the 13.3-inch Toshiba AT330, the 18-inch Asus Transformer AiO and the frankly ridiculous 27-inch Lenovo Horizon. (The latter two are actually all-in-one PCs that convert into tablets.)

As to the second part of your question, you’ll want to invest in something a bit sturdier to support the weight of your tablet — a custom stand with a heavily weighted base should do the trick. There are several tablet floor stands on the market that would probably suit your purposes, although most are specifically designed for smaller tablets like the iPad.

Another option would be to buy a wooden easel and make a few modifications to the base. (On the downside, this will be substantially heavier than your current stand, which is bound to make traveling a bit of a hassle.)

Incidentally, have you actually tried using a regular-sized tablet? A recent scientific study found that people with weaker eyes have an easier time reading on tablets than on regular printed paper — even when the font sizes are identical. You could also try enlarging the sheet music on your tablet screen and making it auto-scroll while you play.

Are there any Lifehacker musos out there with solutions of their own? Share your tips in the comments section below.


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