Lyrics On A Tablet PC

Lyrics On A Tablet PC:

Friends, etc -

Several have asked for details about the tablet PC I have been using for song lyrics. IF you decide that using lyrics while performing IS for you, then this may be helpful - it certainly works for me, and represents what I've learned from several false starts using other equipment.

Hope this is of value...

FUJITSU T-1010 Lifebook
13.3 inch touch screen (finger, as well as stylus)
2.1 gig dual processor, 2 gig memory
160 gig hard drive, DVD Writer
Wireless network card, bluetooth capable
Vista Home Premium

I went ahead and loaded my "business copy" of Office 2007, mainly to be consistent with what I use every day.

I also downloaded and use (while performing) the Word Reader (similar to Adobe PDF Reader). It has a great display mode with absolutely NO toolbars etc and maximizes the usable screen space, no Windows Title Bar even - it's very good. The Reader also auto-magically sizes your document to fit the screen.

My "song list" screen is actually just a Windows directory list, using the Large Icon View with details because the resulting display is easiest for me to work with and select with my finger. I also have it set to "one click" to open, which I always do anyway, so I don't have to double-click - seems more logical to me.

So, at my gigs - the rig sits to my right, with the song list screen on all the time. I decide on a song, touch the title (or icon) once with my finger and the lyric sheet pops up. When I'm done, I close the song by touching a button, and I'm back to the list. Sometimes I do two or three tunes in a row that I need lyrics for, and I open the three up in reverse order, close each when I'm done and the next one is there.

One thing – in using the Word Reader to display, withOUT the Title Bar – there’s also no “X” box in the corner to close the sheet when you’re done. There are 4 little buttons you can program, and the best I could do was assign “Close” to one of the buttons - have to touch it TWICE to close… it’s still ok.

{ The Good Mr. Munch has been using HIS laptop on stage for many years, with great success, and prefers "normal PC mode" because he likes to type a letter or two of the title and select that way. Won't argue with success! }

It is convenient for me at gigs to plug it in while playing - it's a little brighter and I don't have to worry about the battery dying.

I already had all my songs formatted (in Word) for a single printed page. This thing, when in tablet mode, is almost exactly the same size, so I did not have to completely re-vamp my sheets. I have about 50 that I use regularly, and 100-plus more. I received the thing on a Friday and used it at my Saturday gig - it was very cool.

I also found a music stand that is the exact size of the tablet, 12 tall by 9 wide, which is nice, and less visible, more low key.

As I've used it for a couple of months now, I have gone in and adjusted a number of sheets to "display better". I use colors to distinguish verses, choruses and bridges, chords, other little things like that. I also have a couple of sheets that for various reasons I scanned a handwritten page into Word. I've also found that you can set paper size to ridiculous larger dimensions, like 12 by 18, etc - to accommodate songs with LOTS of lyrics, and the Word Reader adjusts them to screen space very well. So, NO scrolling! Which is very cool...

I had tried the 8 or 9 inch screen tablets, but they just didn't allow enough screen space without scrolling. This 13-inch tablet / portrait orientation is perfect. And, since it also swivels into "normal notebook" orientation, and has a keyboard and mouse - that's the way I edit the songs and use the internet etc. Very versatile machine - I'm very happy with it.

It was a little over $1,300 bucks - expensive for a music book, but I decided to go ahead, and I'm glad I did - it's convenient, low-profile and professional, and exactly what I'd been scheming in my head for several years. You CAN find them for less on eBay - I wanted a new one with warranty and latest OS, AND I wanted to be able to return it (Fujitsu Direct) if it didn't suit me.

Yet, I have not added a song at a gig on break, probably will someday, but I HAVE added a song in the afternoon, just a couple of hours before playing it for the first time. This, I like a LOT!
I made the move to a tablet myself mainly because my number of sheets was growing and finding the one I needed was becoming unwieldy and not fast enough. My book wasn't 100% alphabetical, partly on purpose to group certain songs together, and it started taking too dang long to find the song I wanted.

The computer is much better. I also like having a "real computer" better than I think I would like one of those Freehand MusicPad dedicated tablets - I can control what's displayed much better, and didn't have to learn a whole new system.

I was ready to try a Mac for this, surprisingly, BUT my gut told me that the portrait orientation of a tablet and finger touch screen was the only thing I'd be truly satisfied with, and that eliminated Apple. Also eliminated the otherwise very cool Motion Computing true tablet (thinner with no keyboard or mouse) - they only work with a pen stylus, and I didn't want to be reaching for and dropping and losing that thing while I should be playing guitar! My finger generally stays attached. I had tried their smaller one - need to sell it now.

I intend to put a "Gear Page" on my web site, and I'll include the tablet for sure.

Thanks for asking, and any more questions just fire away!

Best, Mike

Here's the pics:


Photos (1)
Original Post
Thanks Mike - That is some great info. I am having the same problem of the note book getting out of hand. I like the looks of this and it could work out nice for my needs. Thanks for the pictures. That's what I like about this community. We share the knowledge we have. Thanks Again Mike.
Thanks Mike,

Great description and pictures.

I'm using my Tablet PC for lyrics too. Not all the time, but when I do I'm using a Motion LE1600 slate even though it does not have touch screen. I've got a couple of convertibles like yours with touch/pen screens too, but I like the slimmer slate on stage even though I have to use the pen. It's a lot lighter so I can mount it right on the microphone stand if I want.

I'm using Microsoft OneNote for the software side of things. I find the 'tabs' approach to organization works well for me. My set lists are links to the individual pages I need. I can access the set lists from anywhere by tapping the tab. Works for me. Quite often I'll do the lyrics in ink. No one else can read them but they are better memory triggers for me if they are hand written. Another nice thing about OneNote is that is automatically synchronizes live in real time with all instances of the files I'm using. This is perfect for me because I've got several machines. (Performance machine, rehearsal machine, desktop) and if I add files, or make edits, they are always sync'd up as long as they are attached to my network. Even if they aren't, (e.g. take the performance machine to a gig, add a song, add annotations, edit set list), as soon as I connect again, all the machines are sync'd up.
Several have asked for details about the tablet PC I have been using for song lyrics

Hi Mike,

Have you played outdoors with your Fujitsu Tablet yet?

I do about 80 % of my gig's outdoors and my HP TX2000 tablet is tough with the reflections. I had an old Toshiba, with the mat finish that behaved a bit better. The HP is great if you want to see your reflection in the screen, instead of the contents.

Even a sun shield shroud around it does not help much. I also tried one of the 3M privacy filters, it cut some of the glare, but was still hard to get enough brightness. So far that's the big downside for outdoor gigs. I usually have to find a shady spot or Lani area to set up at.

Inside it works great.

BTW, a very nice free program is Digital Fake Book
Hi Joel,

I really like the TX series of HP Tablet PCs. Small, light, lots of horsepower. The only reason I don't own one is the glossy screen. I wish I could offer a solution to that.

The Motion Tablet PCs are available with several screen options including something they call "View Anywhere". I can see and read mine just about anywhere, including direct sunlight. Mind you, I tend to avoid direct sunlight, but I have tested the machine and it works fine.
Hey Strider,

Man, I REALLY wanted to try a Mac for this, but it didn't work out. Mac's coming out with a tablet relatively soon, but the screen won't be big enough for my needs.

BUT, if you can adapt your songs to a horizontal format, your MacBook should work fine. It's pretty simple from a "programming" standpoint - as long as you have a workable screen to display the entries (like a diretory list), and something to display the lyrics (word processor or viewer), that's all you need. I'm a programmer by profession, and real picky about this stuff, but less exacting solutions can be done relatively easily.

Best luck, Mike
Hi I use a MacBookPro 17" with a matte screen. Use Music Reader software which provides a Database and the ability to read PDF's. If you do not want the screensaver to come on or sleep mode, click on the apple logo in the upper left hand corner and select System Preferences. Select ScreenSaver and change it to Never. Then select Energy Saver and turn it to Never. Hope this helps.Brian
Because of input I received directly from this forum, I use the Motion Tablet along with a program called Music Reader. I then attach a foot pedal via a USB to the Tablet. This is called a Foottime and lets you turn pages with a simple foot tap. The Music Reader uses JPG or PDF scanning to input. The beauty of this is I can take tunes straight from my books and scan them in. I prefer to play from memory but there are occasions, such as when I play the classical guitar, where I need to refer to written tablature.

As my wife says, the Bose Forum is bankrupting us... Ah, but the music is flourishing!
I'm interested in the iPad, too. Using a 12" powerbook now with a program that displays lyrics on the desktop. I'd love to have the ability to view in landscape mode.

One downer I see with the iPad is no digital audio out. I love the usb interface on the T1.
It looks as though there is not a tablet pc solution for viewing lyric sheets out-of-doors for under a grand.

In the past, I received an email reply from Music Pad Pro Plus confirming that their unit is not optimized to work outdoors/in direct sunlight.

I'm looking forward to a less-costly solution than the ones mentioned here.

Thank you!
I'm going to check out the iPad as soon as the stores have them... I will be pleasantly surprised IF the screen is large enough, for me. My 13.3" Fujitsu screen is almost page size and I like that A LOT. The iPad 9.7" in like 60 or 70 percent of that, and I expect the display to be too small... although I would REALLY like it to work...

I shall SEE!
It looks as though there is not a tablet pc solution for viewing lyric sheets out-of-doors for under a grand.

You cab buy a Motion Tablet PC for 350 -450 on ebay. They come off a lease program. I can't put my finger on the company that has them but I know Joel will read this and chime in. I have had one for over a year. Works great and I have used it in direct sunlight.
You cab buy a Motion Tablet PC for 350 -450 on ebay.

Roy and I have purchased the Motion Computing LE1600 Tablet computers. You need the one that says "View Anywhere Display".
They really work well, I have 2 of them (one as a backup). The first was $650 and over a year ago. The 2nd had a little chip in the lower corner (just a cosmetic issue)and went for $360 around December of last year. Actually ST advised Roy and I on these a while back as he has a LE1700 if I recall. You never get bad advise from ST, he is the best.

I just checked and the supplier I purchased from actually 3 times, along with Roy and a few others is
If that one is gone, you can check sellers other items as he has a few of them. This supplier goes through the units and has a very good reputation.
Thanks for the kind words Joel.

Actually - I'm running a Motion M1400 (like yours) in the studio and a Motion LE1600 live. No particular reason to do that except that the M1400 does NOT have an internal fan and the LE1600 does. The processor in the LE1600 is a little faster - but not enough to trade up.

The downside with the LE1600 is Motion went with a 2" hard drive and it is very hard to get anything larger than the stock 40 gig drive in that form factor. If you (you and Roy) needed to get a replacement or just bigger drives - you have 2.5 inch IDE drives that are still pretty common.
Hi 7777,


I have tried touch screens for this application. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. (I have Toshiba, Lenovo, and Dell tablets that all support touch).

I find using the stylus much more accurate and predictable, but a little tedius - to have to pick up the stylus first instead of using a finger.

I keep coming back the the Motion Tablet PCs for this application even though I have to use the stylus. I think that's because of the excellent screen and light weight and the overall greater accuracy of using the stylus.
A few updates on the Motion Computing LE1600.
The LE1600 has been shipping now (at least the ones we get off lease from ITS.Photo) with a 60gb drive and 1.5 gig of memory.

I've tried using a stylus on the LE1600 and my finger on my other touch HP tablet and it is just too difficult to get good navigation while standing and performing.
I find that a "Bluetooth" mouse works much better along side the tablet on a music stand.

I used to use a Mic stand holder, but went back to a music stand after a holiday accident knocked my LE1600 off the mic stand holder onto the floor, cracking the glass, requiring the purchase of another refurbed backup unit.

The repair costs more than a used/refurb off of ebay.
You can also do a lot with the onscreen keyboard for quick lookups and such.
At home when updating, I plug in a USB keyboard.

The big thing here is it's the best I have come across for doing outdoor gigs. They were made for the service industry, writing up car collision estimates outdoors and construction.

They also have handy Bump cases for them. I got one and I think it will help protect it.
Motion Cases
If anyone's interested, we use an HP TouchSmart tx12 on stage.

The big deal about that is it's Multi-touch (pinch 'n Zoom) and fairly easy to navigate around with just your fingers.

If you guys can use a Stylus, than more power to ya (seriously) but in this day and age, I really am a "Multi-touch finger guy".

This Tablet PC is a bit pricey, but I suspect those of you in the U.S. can pick it up cheaper than I did (Australia) - !

Never used it outdoors, so I can't really comment about it's abilities in that respect.....

Still, we'll NEVER go back to big clumsy books/sheets now! Smile
I appreciate all of the input. For me, it's essential that the tablet have the best view available for outdoor gigs. We play a lot of wineries, picnics, and fairs.

I'm not anticipating that a stylus would slow me down that much and I'm confident that the benefits of using a tablet computer far outweigh the clumsiness of a turning pages in a binder.

Thanks for chiming in here.
I ended up buying one of the LE1600 Motion Tablets from IT.Photo, on ebay. It should be arriving any day now and I'm anxious to put it to use.

As a side note (because this is a "Bose L1" site), my original Bose L1 + one B1 that I purchased in December of 2004 are still going strong. I had to send the B1 back to Bose for a warranty repair. Their service was simply awesome!

I've since added another B1 + T1. I should have bought the T1 when they first came out. All I've got to say is that it works for me.

Thanks to all!

An old thread, but my point is probably relevant to anyone who's contributed. Just thought I'd mention the Binder 2 app for Mac. It's available from the Mac App store and will work on a Mac laptop or iPad (Having checked with the author of the app, the software does not presently work on the iPad although as of a week or two ago, he said he was beginning the iPad version). If you store all your lyrics as PDFs, it will allow you to do predictive search (start typing name of song and it'll find the matches). It will then (and this is the kicker for me) play the relevant track in iTunes. This is ideal for one man outfits using backing tracks. For me it seems to be the holy grail. I've been moving over to it with my existing set and haven't gigged with it yet but I think it's a great app,



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