Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 2, 1999

Connick tries it here first electronic sheet music

by Dena Huisman, ISU journalism student

Jazz singer and computer hobbyist Harry Connick Jr. opened his latest tour June 10 in Ames, and he brought a new concept in concert technology with him. Instead of relying on the traditional sheet music, Connick installed, in front of each musician,a computer that displayed all the music for a show.

Steve Harder, technical director at Stephens Auditorium, said the idea came to Connick only days before the opening of the tour, so he and his company had to work fast. Connick spent a week readying the equipment for the concert. David Pogue, author of the book, Macs for Dummies, helped Connick set up the system.

During the concert, Connick told his audience he has been writing all his music on computer for a while.

"It's easier than carrying a pile of manuscript paper, pencils, sharpeners and erasers," he said.

Instead of flipping music pages during the Ames concert, Connick's musicians pushed a key on the keyboard to advance to the next page of music. Each piece of music is accessed by pushing a specific "function" key at the top of the keyboard.

Connick said he believes this idea will become standard concert technology.

"I think when you go to the symphony in the future, this is what you will see," he told the Ames audience.

Connick thanked Harder and the staff at Stephens during the concert for their help in pioneering his idea.

"It was a busy week," Harder said, "but it was very rewarding."

Iowa State homepage

Inside Iowa State,, University Relations
Copyright © 1999, Iowa State University, all rights reserved

Revised 07/01/99