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Though these look old-fashioned one can still by "music bags", special satchels or briefcases designed to carry sheet music. They are easily distinguished from other bags because one of the handles is replaced by a metal bar over the other handle. Here's a picture of one sold now by the Cambridge Satchel Company:

Cambridge Satchel Company Music Bag

Is there a practical advantage to this style of bag enclosure when transporting music? If so what is the advantage?

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I realise that the tag sheet-music is incorrect but I need at least one tag to submit a question and all the others I could think of do not exist on the site. – dumbledad Apr 4 '14 at 6:49

I think the tag 'sheet music' is apposite.A lot of music was written out on single sheets, rather than in a manuscript book.As such, it helped if it was kept flat. The metal bar as one of the closers did just that.It stopped the bag from flexing across its widest side.

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Good answer, but with the stitching along the base these bags (or at least the music bags I've seen and used) are not that flexible length-ways anyway. – dumbledad Apr 4 '14 at 14:03

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