I'm singing in a choir of 50 singers. We will be recording, and want to eliminate the sound of swishing pages when turning them. (Of course it would be better to memorize the music, but we haven't done this yet.)

Does anyone have tricks for making page turns quiet, e.g. folds, different weight of paper, lamination, ...?

  • 2
    No need to get complicated. Just tell them to practice turning the page QUIETLY. It's not hard.
    – Laurence
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 13:44
  • 1
    Do you all each have your own book? Sharing one between two would immediately halve the pages being turned and might (at least) halve the noise, but might not be desirable for various reasons (personal annotations, social distancing)
    – Pam
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 19:36
  • ...sing louder and drown out the page noises ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 23:32

7 Answers 7


A few guys I play with now are using Apple iPads (other brands are available!), even the conductor has succumbed, which contain everything they need on a screen. They also have the facility to 'turn pages' using a foot pedal - I have a Roland keyboard with that turn pages built in (but can't use it!). Useful also for size of print, repeats, etc.

Maybe this doesn't answer the question directly, but it does provide an alternative to rustling sheets, albeit at a more expensive choice than paper charts.

  • 2
    Any cheap e-reader is just as effective for the purpose and a lot less expensive than an iPad. Still more expensive than paper, but you can hold a lot more music for a lot less weight as well. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 18:41
  • @DarrelHoffman are there cheap big e-readers that support page turner pedals? E-ink displays are nicer than LCD, but the ability to turn pages when your hands are busy is a killer feature and the 10 inch readers I can find about almost much as the base model iPad.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 15:38
  • @ojs If it's got a USB port, I don't see why not. (You could just install an ordinary mouse taped to the floor or something, but a dedicated pedal device would be better. Haven't done enough comparison shopping to say though. The other benefit to an e-reader is it doesn't necessarily have to be tied into a cellular data plan or wifi - it can work completely offline just as well. Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 15:55
  • @DarrelHoffman technically iPads don't need permanent internet connection either. But looks like cheap and large enough for sheet music e-ink readers don't really exist.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 19:43
  • It’s true iPads have made major inroads in live score reading. One thing I believe has held them back from taking over completely (beyond cost and the conservative nature of many musicians regarding technology) is possible issues with music licensing agencies who will not license digital scores and prohibit scanning of scores. Certainly many scores are scanned even when that violates the agreement and is therefore copyright infringement, but popular orchestras are far too likely to get caught and have too much to lose to risk allowing members to scan when it’s prohibited. Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 4:50

The things have have worked for me:

  1. Have the music in a binder: choir folder with elastic stays is best, but 3-ring works, too, especially if the pages can be placed in plastic sheets. The plastic makes less noise against the rings than does paper.
  2. Begin placing one's hand behind the "next" page as early as possible, so that it can be done as slowly as possible. I typically do it immediately after turning to the current page.
  3. Turn the page as slowly as possible. At the latest, I start turning at the last system before the page turn.

Turning pages is usually noisier than moving them aside, and paper on paper is noisier than plastic on plastic.

Depending on the available space and number of pages required, setting up wide music stands and having pages printed one-side only, laminated or in thin plastic sheets, and then moved from side to side, instead of turned, might help reduce the overall sound. Should be pretty cheap too and might work in combination with the other suggestions.

It would be useful to determine when the music lulls to avoid unnecessary movement during the quieter parts of the performance.


Practice turning pages very slowly with the choir. Make a game out of it. Without singing, turn pages and see how quiet everyone can be.

Find a way to stagger the page turns across (or even within) sections. You may be able to cut sheets of music in half and reassemble them in page protectors so page turns are staggered. (For example: the top half of page 2 now sits below the bottom half of page 1.) HALF of your binders would end up looking something like this:

|-|2|3|4| etc.

If you can't do that, you may be able to bring one system from the next page to the bottom of the one before. Even spreading all the page turns across a few bars will help.

You may find it quieter to put the music in page protectors and link all the pages together with plain binder rings--no binder. It looks a bit odd, but you're recording audio and not shooting a video.


If I get it right, when you approach the end of a page, you need to turn it, which creates unwanted noise.

To counter or eliminate the noise here are a couple of scenarios. They are like a blueprint and any of your solutions should fit the scenarios characteristics. Think of guided creativity.

It's ok to combine ideas mentioned and to develop them further.

Here we go.

Scenario 1

When approaching the end of the page, by some means X you can completely keep TURNING away from any page, so there is no noise.

Idea: An X with this property could be e.g. distributed pages. I.e. one set changes after odd pages, a second after even pages. If you split those sets among each other every choir member can follow left or right on leadsheets AND turn his or her sheet at different times, reducing noise considerably.

Scenario 2

You modify the end of page such that there no longer is a need to turn a page, so there is silence.

Idea: You could take the one of sc.1 a step further and break pages not only at the end but say with an offset of half a page etc.

Scenario 3

The end of a page is approaching and you can't prevent to turn it, thus creating noise, BUT X completely compensates the turning process' noise creation.

Ideas: The 3 ideas Aaron mentions fulfill these properties. I.e. experiement with different materials (noisy ones, silent ones), turning techniques (noisy and silent ones) etc. Consider going from uniform (all have the same medium, creating a lot of collective noise) to non-uniform (mix of media for the same song with different noise creation).

Modification: Come up with a turning strategy which simply spreads the noise in time. I.e. some start turning earlier than others, some later.

Sidewalk: When will the turning be most noisy? When you hold it up against the microphone. When will it be almost silent? Far away, lowered to the ground (i.e. shielded by the choirs bodies). Develop on that observation. (Here X would be the position, where you perform turning the pages.)

Final hint

There are even more things you could do.

Resist the temptation to say "it's impossible, too costly" etc. Instead review what you already DO have (e.g. people, material, methods, rules, ...) and try identifying X amongst them (already there, or almost freely available).

A simple list, held against the 3 scenarios mentioned, might do the trick.


Part of the noise is created when you rub the corner of the page against the few ones you grab at a time, while trying to separate only one before actually turning it.

You may add "tabs" to each page made of "sticky notes paper" or even plain masking tape (painters tape). Each page should have the tab at a different position, thus making it easy to grab only the next one.


Projectors with laptops can be used, and you can easily block out the sounds of the mouse clicks. (I use plural because I assume rather than all reading from a common sheet, different voices have different music.)

I think the best solution might reliant on how the choir will be assembled for recording: one large group with a few microphones, or possibly each voice in a different grouping with different microphone? Perhaps a separate mic for soloist?

  • A single laptop with projector could be sufficient if you have a large enough wall/screen to project onto. Splitting the screen into quadrants for each part could be done, but the software side of arranging and managing all that might be an issue. Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 20:10

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