Electronic Band Scores and Stage Services Framework
Georg J. Schneider and Dimitri Perepelkin
Computer Science Department, Trier University of Applied Sciences, Main Campus, Trier, Germany
Keywords: Services and Mobility, Application of Mobile Information Systems, Protocols, Standards, Interoperability and
Abstract: The paper describes a framework for the mobile display of electronic sheet music using the UPnP
infrastructure for bands. Based on this architecture, further services can be integrated, like MIDI sounds or
light shows.
A cover band, which plays an evening show, usually
has a large set list to satisfy the various musical tastes
of the audience. Additionally they are usually
prepared for song requests from the audience. Each of
these songs consists of several sheets of music. The
same is true for large orchestras playing symphonies
or operas. One of the challenges, which has nothing
to do with mastering the instrument, is the turning of
the sheets during the play. Another defiance is to keep
all these sheets in a straight ordering on the music
stand. A disorder in the sheets can cause a major
problem during a performance. Confusing scores for
different instruments may lead to a similar
For this reason an electronic version of a score
would be just the right solution for this issue. The
musicians only need a tablet computer. The sheet
music could be stored on the devices or on a central
The Brussles Philharmonic used this approach as
the first orchestra in 2013. They use a modified
version of neoScores (Gustaf 2018) to display the
sheet music.
Furthermore the score could also move forward as
needed, like a tele prompter, so that the musician will
never have to switch to the next sheet.
However as it concerns an evening performance
of a band, the situation is more various. Different
musicians may join in for certain tunes. They would
need the scores for their instrument or the lyrics,
when the musician is singer.
Additionally the integration of further services in
the system, which belong to the performance, shall be
possible as well. For example the playback of MIDI
sequences, the light show or the playing of videos in
the background shall be flexibly integrated into the
system also.
For this reason we suggest a flexible software
architecture based on the Universal Plug and Play
(short: UPnP) (OCF 2018) protocol in this paper.
Together with services running either on mobile
clients like tablets or on other eventually specialised
devices, an infrastructure for bands can be realized
that nicely adapts to the current situation.
The paper is structured as follows. First we will
discuss several systems targeting a similar domain as
ours. We will sketch related developments using
UPnP. We will also discuss approached towards
electronic sheet music. Afterwards we will give a
short introduction to UPnP. We will then present our
framework. Based on these considerations we will
describe the realization of the system with the help of
the Cling UPnP library. The paper concludes with a
short summary and an outlook to further
developments of our solution.
Most systems that support similar situations like the
one we are targeting are UPnP based systems that
stream media from a server to different clients using
the UPnP protocol. One example is BubbleUPnP
(BubbleUPnP 2018). The software consists of a
media server and an Android client for rendering
audio and video data to mobile devices.
Another application with similar functionality is
UPnP monkey from Ronald Bruckner. The Android
Schneider, G. and Perepelkin, D.
Electronic Band Scores and Stage Services Framework.
DOI: 10.5220/0006958102690276
In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies (WEBIST 2018), pages 269-276
ISBN: 978-989-758-324-7
Copyright © 2018 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
app detects media server and media renderer in a
network and can control them individually.
(Sung et. al. 2006) describe an UPnP based
framework for multimedia content delivery with
content adaptation. In our case however the different
versions of the multimedia content belong to the
profile an automatic adaptation or blending of
different versions is not planned in our system.
(Lai et al. 2011) suggest an architecture for an
UPnP-based high performance multimedia content
sharing system. Right now the amount of data of our
application is not that high yet so that a conventional
approach satisfies the needs of our scenario. However
their ideas would be helpful if extensive video shows
will be a topic in the future.
On the other hand systems like Cantabile
(Cantabile 2018) offer possibilities to support life
performances with sound effects and MIDI playback.
The system also offers the managing of set lists.
(Kurth et. al. 2007), (Kurth et. al. 2008) suggest a
digital library framework for managing multimodal
music collections. Their system synchronizes e.g.
playback of scanned sheet music and audio playback
and also offers search capabilities, which are
important for large music collections. Right now the
requirements of our scenario are still clearly arranged
so that an automatic processing of the files is not yet
necessary. Furthermore other media such as light or
video is not part of their consideration yet but might
be an interesting extension of this approach.
A software solution, which supports bands for
their life performances, including possibilities to
integrate services like sheet music, set list
management, midi player, light shows and a flexible
extension of the system with further services is not
known to the authors so far. The above mentioned
systems have extensive functionalities in their
specific domain. However an integrated and easily
expandable system with a low footprint is needed for
the band scenario like the one we are looking at.
For this reason we suggest an architecture based
on the UPnP protocol in order to offer the different
services in the network. With this approach we can
flexibly adapt to different situations and even change
the setting in between.
Universal Plug and Play (OCF 2018) is a protocol for
ad-hoc networking. The protocol uses IP networks
and the HTTP protocol to communicate between
entities. Using the protocol a developer can specify
different entities like devices that offer services and
control points that detect these devices and consume
their services. Devices and services are described in
form of XML files. Therefore arbitrary devices and
services can be defined and a developer is not bound
to prior defined specifications. The implementation of
the services however is proprietary and hence not part
of the protocol. Another important part of the
specification is a discovery mechanism to detect new
devices in a network. Once a device is detected, it can
be queried for the services it offers. As a consequence
the XML specification will be transmitted explaining
details about the services and the way they can be
used. Finally the communication between a control
point and a device is done using SOAP (W3C 2018).
Nevertheless, some often needed devices are
defined by the UPnP task force, like media server and
media renderer.
A physical device can offer different UPnP
devices with a variety of services as well as a control
point. Like that the interaction with the services on
the same physical device or services offered by other
devices on the network is transparent to the control
The idea of our framework is that it should be possible
to add different services to a network, like electronic
scores, set list management, MIDI controller, light
show but also to make the services adaptable to the
situation. For example a band consisting of a singer,
a guitar player, a bassist and a drummer need an
electronic sheet music service. Each of these
musicians will obviously need a different version of
the sheet music, which demands for adding extra
information to the sheet music, e.g. using metadata
for describing the purpose for example the
instrument. Especially looking at a situation where
one of the musicians is also the singer in one show
where in another show there will be a special guest
only for singing, it is possible that different sheet
music for the same song are needed. Therefore a user
management must be part of the framework as well.
The electronic sheet music shall be rendered for
example on a tablet computer. The tablets again shall
not be dedicated to a specific band member. Whoever
uses the tablet shall specify her role and access the
appropriate information. The sheet music shall
automatically start in parallel on each tablet and scroll
forward as the song continues, so that there is no need
for manual interaction during the song.
WEBIST 2018 - 14th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
Figure 1: System architecture.
Set list management is another important service
for a band. Usually the band will put together a set list
for a show in beforehand. However situations where
the band wants to adapt to its audience may happen,
especially when we are looking at cover bands. Song
requests from the audience shall also be respected. As
a consequence an easy to use set list handling is
needed. Since every band member may be
approached, each tablet must provide this service and
changes must be communicated immediately to the
devices of the other band members. Each band
member shall also have the possibility to start the
playing of a song. In our case this means that each
tablet must be able to give the signal to the other
devices to begin displaying the appropriate
information and start the other services, which belong
to the playing of the song, i.e. the light show.
Today the use of MIDI samples is a feature, which
is often used by bands. “MIDI is an industry standard
music technology protocol that connects products from
many different companies including digital musical
instruments, computers, tablets, and smartphones.”
(MIDI 2018). Sound effects for example that cannot be
easily produced with an instrument or instruments that
are not part of the band can thus be integrated into the
songs. The playback of these samples must be started
at the right time within the song. A MIDI controller can
therefore be defined as an UPnP device, which
interfaces with the MIDI instruments.
Finally we want to integrate light and video
services to improve the visual appearance of the
show. Media services on the one hand are easy to
integrate, since media server and renderer are already
defined from the UPnP task force, as described in the
precedent section. Since video services are media
services and many video player software already
implement an UPnP interface, the integration is
straightforward. However as it concerns light services,
the situation is different. Light control usually is based
on the DMX protocol (Beuth 2000). DMX stands for
Digital Multiplex. The protocol defines codes that are
interpreted by the light equipment, e.g. like strobe
lights or moving head lights. The DMX protocol can
be wrapped in an UPnP device as well.
Putting the different pieces together we realize a
basic architecture as in figure 1. We see two physical
devices offering different basic services for the band.
In general the assignment from UPnP devices, shown
as gear in the illustration, to the two physical devices
is flexible.
On the left hand side there is an example of a setup,
which could be used for each band member. The
architecture on the right hand side offers some
fundamental services for all band members. Looking
first at the left hand side, two media renderers are
shown. One media renderer will display the lyrics and
the sheet music. The other media renderer is in charge
with the presentation of videos in the background.
Especially this service might also be exploited on
another device since further physical devices can be
added as well and the arrangement of UPnP devices
may be different to any of the illustrated (physical)
devices. The control point uses the services offered by
the devices. In general it is transparent to the control
point if the device resides on the same physical device
or if it is controlled over the internet. The set list
management must be installed on each device where it
shall be possible to modify the set list during a show.
The profile management makes it possible to use an
arbitrary client and log in e.g. as a guitar player or a
Electronic Band Scores and Stage Services Framework
singer. Thus the sheet music for this band member can
be rendered on the appropriate device.
On the right hand side a media server is shown.
The media server will stream the appropriate sheet
music to the clients during the show. This allows to
keep all files on one device. Therefore the copying of
files to the other devices is not necessary. The use of
the different devices is more flexible with this
approach. The profile data identify a certain role and
this role can change over time. Also spare devices can
replace defect devices during a show almost
instantaneously. The web server is the central
component to copy files to the device. It provides also
the interface to author the show, to build the set list
and to add light or sound effects to the pieces of
music. On the bottom, the different files that might be
used during the show are shown.
Tablet computers are an ideal output device for digital
sheet music since they have a decent size and are easy
to transport. Therefore we have implemented our
system for these devices. However, as the architecture
in figure 1 shows on the right hand side, a dedicated
device offers more powerful services, like media
streaming to several devices and it needs more
connection possibilities like DMX or MIDI. For this
reason we have decided to add a laptop computer to
the technical infrastructure.
As it concerns the tablet computers, we have used
Android as the target platform. Therefore we need to
build an app, which renders the information on the
Figure 2 shows the view of an UPnP inspection
tool, which has detected the two devices in the
network. The SheetMusic-PC is the central unit
providing the streaming services. “Smarty” is one of
the tablet computers, which are used to display the
sheet music for the band members. As one can see,
several services are visible like changing the playlist.
The UPnP control points, devices and services are
realized using the Cling UPnP implementation (Line
2018), which is available for Android and Java.
In order to implement an UPnP device with Cling,
the Java class that represents a service is annotated.
We show the procedure giving a simple example,
which only has one state variable “Address” where
the IP address of the data exchange server is stored
and one action “GetAdddress” that returns this
address. They are part of the service
SheetMusicServer, which belongs to the UPnP device
SheetMusic-PC (see figure 2).
Figure 2: UPnP devices.
First the service is declared giving a service type and
a service identifier. This is accomplished with the
appropriate annotations starting with “@Upnp”.
serviceId =
serviceType = @UpnpServiceType
version = 1))
Afterwards we declare the state variable in a similar
way, providing a default value, which is returned
when the value of the state variable cannot be
WEBIST 2018 - 14th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
Figure 3: UPnP action invocation.
Finally we declare the action to return the value of the
state variable, followed immediately by the code that
represents the action. In this case the “out” argument
is the host address.
@UpnpAction(out =
The Java code returning the address is given below.
The “getter” method accesses the attribute, where the
data is stored.
public String getAddress() {
return address;}
Afterwards the device is created that will contain the
service. First we need to create a unique identity of
the device, which is used for searching the device in
the network.
DeviceIdentity identity =
new DeviceIdentity(
"SheetMusic MediaServer"));
Subsequently we create the service for the device.
The annotated class is used for the creation of this
sheetMusicService = new
Finally the bits and pieces are put together. The
device is created, which offers the service.
return new LocalDevice(identity,
type, details, createIcon(),
Using this service remotely, a control point would
have to add the following Java code. First the control
point has to find the appropriate service from the
remote UPnP device.
Service service =
Electronic Band Scores and Stage Services Framework
The desired action, which will be executed is
accessed using the service.
Action action =
A callback method is defined. It will be executed
when the desired action, which is executed on the
remote side, successfully returns the data.
ActionInvocation invocation = new
ActionCallback callback = new
ActionCallback(invocation) {
The success method handles the successful execution
of the action and stores the data received from the
remote UPnP service. The failure method will be
called if there were any problems during the
public void
invocation) {
ActionArgumentValue address =
public void failure(…) {…}
Finally the service can be executed using the
following command.
Figure 3 shows the view of an UPnP inspection
tool to the UPnP device on the physical device. The
SheetMusic-PC device is displayed as well as the
services. Concerning the SheetMusicServer, the
action and the state variables are visible as well.
Especially the description of the service in the bottom
right corner shows the “in” and “out” arguments of
the “GetAddress” action. Invoking this action from
the tool shows the result of the action. In our case the
host address and the port are displayed in the text field
on the right hand side, to inform the other devices
about where to find the data exchange server.
Finding our device using a general UPnP
inspection tool, which serves as control point, shows
the conformance of the implementation with the
UPnP standard and guarantees a flexible usage of the
Each control point can gather the information of
device and services because the UPnP device
automatically generates the following XML
description and informs the peers about the URL
where to access this description.
The XML file shows the actions offered by a
service, as well as “in” and “out” arguments and
related state variables. Other entities can subscribe for
changes of these state variables and can likewise
react, when changes of these variables occur.
<stateVariable sendEvents="yes">
Figure 4: Snippet of the generated XML file of the service.
As we can see in figure 4, the action “GetAdress” is
listed together with the argument “HostAddress” as
“out” argument. Furthermore the part under
“serviceStateTable” tells that the change of the
address sends out an event, that interested parties can
The system has been tested on various occasions from
a band called “El Camino” consisting of the two
artists Albert Niesen and Detlef Roth, both guitar
players and singers. They used the system productive
on stages around Europe. Especially the system
proved to be stable, reactive and user friendly in
demanding environments such as beach clubs.
WEBIST 2018 - 14th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
Figure 5: Picture of “El Camino” performing using the system.
Figure 5 shows a screenshot from one of the
rehearsals. The screen of one of the tablet computers
is displayed on the projection behind the artists. The
display shows the lyrics, where only a part is visible
on the top. Below it shows the chords. On the upper
right corner the elapsed time of the tune is displayed
as well.
We have presented a system architecture together
with an implementation for supporting bands with
electronic scores and further services, which are
relevant for their performances. Based on the UPnP
protocol, the presented system is extensible and may
integrate further services as needed. The paper also
shows the flexible integration and usage of the
implemented services on the example of an UPnP
inspection tool.
The systems has been used in real world scenarios and
it has proved its usefulness in several shows,
especially in rough environments like pubs or beach
clubs. In the future we want to add services for light
shows through and integration of a service for the
DMX protocol.
Right now the MIDI support is not yet realized as
an UPnP device. This will also be a next step in the
implementation of our system.
Additionally a service for selecting suitable
photographs, which relate to the tune and displaying
them as slideshows in the background is planned.
In the future, more sophisticated possibilities to
display and interact with the sheet music may be
desired. The notation of music in an XML format, that
would nicely integrate in our platform could be one
extension (see Good 2001) or even as a means to
generate music (Torrente 2011).
Whereas approaches for real-time music notation
(Lee et. al 2010) target a different scenario, i.e.
integration of laptop performers with instrumental
musicians the approach includes ideas that go beyond
our level of interactivity and may be a promising path
for further extensions of our system.
The authors thank Albert Niesen (deceased in
December 2017) for his support, ideas and most of all
for his great personality and for being much more
than a colleague.
Electronic Band Scores and Stage Services Framework
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