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There are various types of music stands. The most common modern type is made of metal and can be folded for ease of transportation. Digital music stands with automated page turning also exist, as well as small stands, called lyre, that can be attached to the instrument itself, as in marching bands. Thomas Jefferson, former president of the United States, invented a revolving music stand.
According to ancient Chinese records, music stands have been used since around 200 BC. However, they did not become popular until the late 14th century, when German and Swiss composers decided that they had a certain air of efficiency about them.
Music stand vs. music desk
The term stand, as it is used to describe furniture such as a plant stand or music stand, generally implies a relatively small surface area supported at the required height, most usually by a turned leg or support known as a standard.
Any inclined surface that can be used for supporting music may be thought of a music stand, although generally this function is divided between two types of furniture: a music stand proper and a music desk.
The music stand, as the name suggests, consists of a support for the music raised upon a freestanding column or tripod, which, in addition to being movable may also be adjustable with regard to its height and the angle at which it may be tilted.
A music desk generally implies a similar, tiltable support for the music, but rather than being raised on a stand, instead forms part of a table. In as much as the term "desk" originally implied a sloping-topped table for reading or writing, the slight adjustment necessary to turn a desk into a music desk, perhaps merely by enlarging the size of the support for the manuscript, was a relatively simple matter.
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