You know, many sheet music books are quite springy and would rather close than stay open on the music stand while practising. How do you keep them open while allowing to turn the pages easily?

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    2016 answer: Take a photo of the page(s) in question with your tablet and put your tablet on the music stand. A quick swipe advances the pages more easily than trying to find the corner to turn the page. Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 5:31
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    @ToddWilcox It does have some drawbacks; most tablets are smaller than music books (which are a little larger than A4) and it is a source of light, which doesn't matter very much under normal practice conditions, but in a dark performance hall it might be very distracting to either the audience or the performer.
    – 11684
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 10:24
  • @11684: I'd say a tablet is more useful in a dark performance hall, because you don't need an extra light source. If it's too bright, you can always just turn the brightness down! Perhaps even invert the contrast – a white-on-black OLED display emits far less light than you can ever hope with an illuminated paper print, while still being readable. Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 12:25

9 Answers 9


Use a music clip. There are two kinds. When I first started playing piano, I was using one of these:

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You put the clip around the top of the book, which holds it flat. Problem is, it doesn't work well for large books which are too thick to fit the clip, and when you're playing something at the beginning or end of the book the two sides become unbalanced. It would often fall off in those cases. Several years later my piano teacher saw me using one of those and gave me this to use instead:

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This kind of metal clip is so much better. It works for books of all thicknesses, and is able to hold the book more securely. Do note that it could damage the cover of the book, especially if it is thick and has a glossy cover. But this is a price worth paying for not having to deal with the inconvenience of a plastic clip.

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    And how do you turn pages with a clip on your book?
    – 11684
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 10:23
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    Place the leftmost part of the clip on the first page and the rightmost part on the last page of the piece you are playing. Of course this runs the risk of pages flipping over by themselves, but it beats having no clip at all.
    – Tony
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:49

My favorite method is to use clothespins to clip the edges of the book to a music stand. If the dimensions of either the book or the stand don't allow that, I use the clothespins to clip a ruler or a similarly sized piece of wood to the front of the book to keep it open.

If the book is stapled together and not too thick, bending it backwards a few times also helps. But with the really thick books, that will just break the binding, and I don't want to damage my books like that.


I've had books re-bound with a spiral binding through a local print shop. The binding is less durable in that it's easier for pages to rip out with this binding, but it allows the pages to stay flat. If you have a lot of books, this may be prohibitively expensive.

  • Nowadays, my preferred method is to scan the pages and place them on an iPad. The downside, of course, is that now I have twice as many page turns...
    – Babu
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 15:23
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    You can also buy a comb binder and do the binding yourself. You sand the spine off of the book with a clamp and a belt sander, then punch it and bind it with the comb binder.
    – empty
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:50

The "standard" method is:

  1. Lay the spine flat on a table and fold each cover down.

  2. Fold down 1 or more pages from the front and 1 or more pages from the back.

  3. Continue folding from each side until you get to the middle.

This way does not break the binding.

  • @NᴏᴠɪᴄᴇIɴDɪsɢᴜɪsᴇ I learned it from a school film in the 80s that was probably made in the 60s. But google isn't finding it right now. Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 5:50

If you aint got any of that on the hand you could use an other (heavy) book and put it on the edge of the book that is supposed to be open.

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    The only concern I'd have about that suggestion is that the music stand may not be big enough to support two books on either side of the main music book.
    – cjm
    Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 22:00
  • @Nachmen you just become more experienced in turning pages this way since it is the most convenient way when you are not practicing at home. Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 14:16

I cut the glue binding off the music book, ripping it on a table saw, and punch holes in the pages to fit them in a three-ring binder.


Cut out each page as close as possible at the binding with a sharp blade. Punch holes for a three ringed binder with a hole puncher. Put the pages in sheet protectors, then insert into binders. Time consuming but best results.

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    Often, professional productions rent the scores, and the books cannot be damaged or defaced without paying a fine. So this solution should be used only in situations where the books are wholly owned. Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 17:31

If you want to have the book but it should open easy. Take it to a copier/printer shop. He will have a machine that can cut through alot of paper in one time. Give him the book he should cut the book at the spine 2mm in to the paper, then the back that is now exposed hold it firmly in place that the book pages should be all the same, not one page should stick out. There a special glue that when it dries its elastically. Smear the glue on the spine, when its dry: voila, here's your book. When you open the book it's like separate pages, but its being held together by the glue. I hope I was a help.


What I often do for this is just continually bend and crease the the book backwards until it stays.

  1. Open to the pages that you are reading from.
  2. Bend both sides of the book back so the ends of the book are behind the spine.
  3. Slide your hand along the spine, creasing it with your hand.

You may have to do this a few times for it to work. This does not cause any damage to the book; source: I do this for all my books.

An alternative to keeping the book open would be to find a flat-bed scanner and print out the pages you are working with. Then, simply line up the papers however works best on your stand.

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