Digital software and hardware being developed in conjunction with the University of Adelaide is set to revolutionise the music industry around the world.
The University's JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice is collaborating with Adelaide software company BTM Innovation to make sheet music redundant within the next five years.
The two organisations are working on a platform to distribute music digitally, a breakthrough which is expected to rescue a global music publishing industry in crisis due to rising printing, distribution and warehousing costs associated with printed sheet music.
The same software will be used to help drive a unique digital music reading device, providing musicians with a facility that stores, displays and organises music in a digital format.
The invention is expected to transform orchestras around the world, creating the equivalent of a music e-reader.
"We have all the ingredients in Adelaide to create a world-class digital music reader -- we just need to find the right hardware manufacturing partner," says BTM Innovation managing director Peter Grimshaw.
Professor Mark Carroll, co-director of the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, says Elder Conservatorium of Music staff will have a major input into the design of the digital music reader.
"It needs to work for musicians in every aspect," he says.
"The potential for this device is huge. Page turns will be possible without moving a hand from the musical instrument. This may be via a foot pedal or some other means."
The current practice where musicians make printed notations on sheet music and then remove them before returning the printed material will also be made redundant.
"Annotations will be able to be stored and distributed digitally per page, depending on the needs of the individual musician," says Mr Grimshaw.
"Orchestras, bands and choirs stand to make huge savings as this device will eliminate the high cost of transport, storage and maintenance of printed sheet music. A musician could potentially have access to the entire world's music repertoire at their finger tips."
The University's commercial arm, Adelaide Research and Innovation, will help secure research and development funding for the hardware, which could involve researchers from the University's School of Computer Science.
Mr Grimshaw says he expects the device to be operational within three to five years.
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