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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. Folding stands range from inexpensive, lightweight models to stronger, heavy-duty folding models. Folding music stands often have solid wire extensions or metal "arms" which can be folded out to support more than two pages of music or to support larger sheets of music. Musicians using heavy books of music, such as jazz fakebooks may find that the lightweight stands are not stable enough to support heavy books.
Professional orchestras typically use heavy-duty non-folding stands which have a music support made of plastic or metal and a metal column. The music support often has a shelf below it for placing pencils, rosin, and other accessories.
Digital music stands with automated page turning also exist. The digital "pages" can be turned by pressing a footpedal.
Larger and more adjustable music stands are available for conductors. These stand's can hold a large amount of sheet music without obstructing the musician's view of the conductor.
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 were efficient.
Comparison with 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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