Music stands come in many varieties and styles and can be made from a variety of materials. But, with few exceptions, they all share the same basic parts. From the bottom up, they consist of the “base”, the “axis” and the “tray”.

The base

The base of a music stand usually has three legs and can be a tripod or a standard fixed base design. A tri-pod base connects the upper legs to the shaft, partially above the ground, with three lower contact points on the ground. These types of legs are almost always foldable or foldable. Virtually all portable and foldable music stands are designed this way. A support with a standard base also usually has three points of contact on the ground, but the other end of the legs is usually welded to steel at the bottom of the shaft. This will give the stand more stability, but it will sacrifice the stand’s ability to fold easily into a smaller space for more convenient transportation. Most of the stands found in schools are of this type.

The axis

The central part of the music stand, which connects the base to the tray, is the axis. If the support is adjustable in height, the shaft will probably have two tubes, one inside the other. These tubes will be telescopic and locked at the desired height. If a pedestal has a standard base, it is highly likely that the shaft is a “one piece” type. That is, the outer tube will be a single piece and will not bend more than the minimum play height. If a stand has a tri-pod base, then it can have a one, two or three piece (or more) axle. The axles of several parts can be reduced to a very small size for easy transport or the parts separate and occupy much less space side by side. Naturally, the one-piece axis is considered to be the strongest, however, the folding and portable score support axes have become much stronger in recent years.

The tray

The part of a music stand that actually contains the music is commonly called a tray or “table”. The tray mainly consists of two parts. The vertical support is called a “book plate” and is usually a single solid piece or is constructed from several interconnected bars that have spaces between them (as with folding supports). The horizontal support (which prevents the score from falling to the floor) is called “shelf” or “lip”. The average depth of a shelf is about five centimeters, but this can vary depending on the intended use of the support. If a musician wants to read music from books, for example, then a bookcase with a deeper shelf would be necessary. The shelf usually comes as a single piece attached, or has two parts that fold in half. The entire tray (book plate plus shelf) may or may not be adjustable for the tilt angle and varies in size and strength.

Differences in music support

These are the basic parts of the vast majority of music stands that you will find. Most exceptions will be in favor of artistic design and will come from beautiful booths, but sometimes not easily portable. Some examples include music stands with solid bases (without legs), stands for duels and cardboard stands in the jazz or “big band” style. And given that there are a myriad of music stand designs, having an understanding of the basic functioning of one of the most important pieces of equipment that a musician will use is useful for two reasons. Increasing your general musical knowledge is always important; and becoming familiar with these specific terms will make you better able to compare different media for your own musical needs.

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