Monday, August 24, 2009

Sheet Music on Kindle DX

Kudos to Andrys Basten and her Kindle World blog for opening my eyes to something I had never considered before: Using the Kindle DX to display sheet music. The DX screen still seems a bit too small to me for this but maybe that's just because my vision isn't what it used to be!

You'll find there's a quite a bit of sheet music already for sale on Amazon's website but be sure to consider the free options as well. Andrys provides info on IMSLP, a free public domain sheet music library, as well as some screen shots of how sheet music renders on her own DX (here and here).

If you're on Twitter, and you should be(!), you can follow Andrys there too.


Prisca said...

Oh my gosh! My husband has been suggesting this for ages. A larger screen than the DX would be fabulous and such a huge space/cost saver. It would help protect against illegal copying of music as well.

Unknown said...

Joe, thanks for your post! Glad you're intrigued by this also. As I mentioned, the screen is definitely smaller than most sheet music so isn't the best for sight-reading pieces with a lot of accidentals :-)

But it's great to have so much of my sheet music in this one place and know it's not going to get all wrinkled up :-) Rotating it shows what it should look like but would mean even more page turns so it's best for checking on something I can't quite see in vertical mode.
Page turns are easy though. I usually mess up the paper turns.

This reminds me that I put up 10 years ago something called an Unmeasured Prelude from the 17th C. (Louis Couperin) with sheet music (in oddly different sizes) and an mp3 that you can play while reading the music, which has no bar or measure lines - you have to figure out what should be long or short notes and where the harmonic changes are. The stuff back then sounded like today's music actually. If interested, you can hear this odd experiment on a digital piano, playing early music on vibes mode, not for purists, at
The actual music starts at

Thanks for your nice words and it's fun to meet Kindle people into music too! By the way, I'm enjoying your company's The Twitter Book, since am relatively new to it. GOOD book!

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is what appears to be a more targeted solution, albeit more expensive than the Kindle DX -- the Freehand MusicPad Pro. This one is targeted at musicians and offers a host of really slick features -- far beyond the DX's limited ability simply to display the music. You can even get a page-turner operated by foot.

It's on my wish list now. (I did see that there's a seller on Amazon offering it somewhat cheaper.)

Walt Shiel

Unknown said...

Walt, yes, more expensive. They finally brought it 'down' to about $900 but add on the pedal and some other goodies and it really adds up.

I saw on forums that people are complaining about it though. Can't remember what the complaints were but I remember thinking the probs were not worth $1,000++.

Good potential, for sure...

Anonymous said...

This sound intriguing, but having absolutely no experience with this kind of thing, I wonder about notes and markings. As a percussionist, I tend to mark the bejebus out of my music. I assume there is no way to do that with this kind of platform...though I've been thoroughly wrong before.

Trey R. Barker

Andy said...

@ Trey Barker -- You can always mark up your "real" sheet music, scan it in, resize it to the Kindle's screen, and save it as a JPG, and dump it into the Kindle manually. It's a workaround, for sure, but better than trying to punch the Kindle's Notes buttons during a drum solo.