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Though these look old-fashioned one can still buy "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?

  • 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
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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.

  • 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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    Yes, an attractive notion, but do leather cases without the bar really crease in half? And anyway, the bar doesn't lie low enough to prevent this much. – Laurence Payne Mar 1 at 3:27
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It's a bag suitable for transporting sheets or books in the size typically used for printed music and manuscript paper (though, for obvious reasons, A4/Letter is becoming a de facto standard outside professional publishing).

French publishers have traditionally used a rather larger size, which explains why when you come across a sheet marked 'Editions Durand' it often has tattered edges!

If there's a better explanation for the design than 'tradition', I've yet to discover it.

  • 'Traditions' always start somewhere, before they get accepted by more and more people! – Tim Mar 1 at 7:06

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