Sheet Music Readers -- what is more important? Size of chords or number of pages?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by PauFerro, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Reducing the song to one page is more important than the size of the symbols

    10 vote(s)
  2. The size of the chord symbols is more important than whether the lead sheet goes to 2 pages.

    17 vote(s)
  3. It doesn't matter to me.

    9 vote(s)
  4. Other (please comment)

    8 vote(s)
  1. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Everyone -- am working on a free book of jazz lead sheets that is licensed for public performance through a creative commons license. This is to help musicians get into venues where they owner has been hit with BMI or ASCAP licensing free or enforcement and can't afford live music. Also will help give composers exposure. Free to distribute electronically, in print, and perform live.

    Input here on talkbass is that the readability of the chords is an important feature of a lead sheet. But it impacts the number of pages -- you can't fit as much on a page with big chord symbols.

    So, to help make this tradeoff, what do you think is more important -- the size of the chord symbol or fitting everything to one page, such as (recognizing one pagers have to have a reasonable chord symbol size).

    Please consider that some people have bad eyesight, and have to read charts in low lighting, or sometimes, even look on with other people. If you have good eyesight, consider those who don't in your answer.

    Now is the time for me to make this decision -- your input is appreciated.
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Maybe you could post examples? :)
    bfields likes this.
  3. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    I'm only a few years away from bumping into walls, so a good size font is paramount. As long as the chart is written out well, a second page is NBD. There have been occasions where I've been handed a chart, took a look at it, and handed it back stating "sorry, I can't read this".
    pcake and packhowitzer like this.
  4. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    1 or 2 pages doesn't matter to me; it's when a chart goes to 3 or more pages that I develop a strong opinion. Page turns suck!
    But if the choice is between 1 page and everything's crammed in tight, versus 2 pages and everything is nicely spaced, gimme 2 pages every time.
  5. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    For me, 2 pages is no problem if they don't have to be turned. It does need to be able to be read. Anything larger, since I gather it's a downloaded book, I'd just print separately and widen the music stand with a piece of something.
    PauFerro likes this.
  6. That's my gripe too. A lot of sheet music, the notes are so tiny you need either a magnifying glass or binoculars to read them.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    my eyesight is good, but age appropriate = give me something easy to read! one page is cool, but two pages (if it's easier to read) is way cooler!
  8. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Actually I kindof hate "one size fits all" sheets. As a bass player I prefer just the chords arranged into measures like:
    |G|C|G|G||C|C|G|G||D|C|G|G D|
    Fit a whole blooze song on one line :cool:.

    Similar idea a bit more upscale ;) :
    I have "iReal Pro" loaded on my iPad that uses that formatting - besides jazz charts there are all sorts of songs available for it: iReal Pro Forums

    But I usually transcribe songs I play regularly into my own format so I can have the actual notes and timing all on one iPad page...
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
    BluesOnBass likes this.
  9. ugly_bassplayer


    Jan 21, 2009
    I don't mind as long as all the sheet music fits on one stand. I hate with a vengeance throwing pages on the floor to follow
  10. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    BTW I tend to use single vision glasses on stage that are focused out at arm's length - good for laptops and music stands :cool:. You can get a cheap pair online for under $20 :D. Standard bifocals sux at that distance :( .
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
    elgecko and PauFerro like this.
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    This helps a lot. I got my optometrist to prescribe music-reading glasses, which I ordered from Zenni. It helps a lot, especially when lighting is poor.

    For me, the only reason to prefer single-page is if I want to read from a tablet device rather than carry printed sheets around. I play for one group that sends out piles of sheet music for every event, and I hate to kill so many trees for a single use, so I just load the PDF's into my tablet. It's simple music (jigs, reels, etc), so I don't really need a lot of detail.

    For the big-band, I have a full blown Manhasset stand with extensions. Some of those charts get to 6+ pages. Then I just have to figure out where to make the page turns.
  12. inanimate_carb


    Aug 11, 2016
    Easy to read and minimal page turns. I know it’s a big ask but if there have to be page turns, they’re made easier if there aren’t complicated/fast changes happening when you have to turn a page.
  13. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Hard to make the call in the abstract without seeing examples.

    What software are you using to generate these? When you publish them, if you could post the source files as well as the rendered pdfs, then people with the same software might have the option to tweak them before printing.

    Increasingly people will be reading on tablets, which give them a few more ways to adopt the sheets to their situation.

    I don't know, I'd be inclined to just pick a few popular examples (the real books?) and do whatever they do. Most people have probably worked out whatever accommodations they need to handle those, so they'll probably be able to handle yours too.

    Look forward to seeing how it turns out!
    Steve-Mo likes this.
  14. Manticore


    Feb 27, 2016
    Make it digital. The user can read it on a tablet at whatever size they need and can turn the page with a pedal when needed. The tablet will mount on a mic stand and can be read easily with or without stage lighting. (May be problematic outdoors without a canopy.)
  15. jefff100

    jefff100 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Jersey Pine Barrens
    I’m OK with multiple pages. All sheet music or cheat sheets become PDF files and get stored on an iPad.

    Size of notes is important.
  16. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    With good typography and layout, the question is moot. You can have both, easily. Bear in mind that the space around the letter is as important as the letter itself.
  17. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    Bigger symbols
  18. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I haven’t had the chance to do the iPad on stage thing yet, so I voted everything on one page. Down with page turning!
  19. JEDnOH


    Feb 1, 2018
    Fremont, OH
    As a young person who likes using an iPad, I vote for electronic PDF files which are easy to read. The direction the future of music will be uploading a PDF file into one’s music reader of choice, rendering loose pages obsolete. I prefer piaScore, but others use onSong. With a Bluetooth foot controller, page turns are hands free and easy. Plus each individual can edit their own score to fit his/her own needs or band situation. If you want young people to like and use the material, these would be my recommendations.

    P.S. - I am 32.
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    There is no reason your charts can't have easily readable chord symbols AND be one page or close to it. I do it all the time.
    neal davis and tradernick like this.

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