There are many different types of orchestra stands. Some are used to hold instruments, while others hold sheet music while a performer plays. Large instruments may be placed on stands when not being played to avoid damage; these stands are also used to display instruments. Music orchestra stands can be adjusted for use by a performer playing any instrument and may be illuminated.
Some types of musicians, such as those who play the trombone or trumpet, may have more than one instrument on stage during a performance. Many times, orchestra music will require a quick instrument change, and it is not uncommon for one musician to play several instruments. To ensure that the musical instrument not being played is close at hand and can easily be accessed, it is placed on a stand near the musician. Trumpet and trombone stands hold the instrument upright with the bell facing down, resting on the stand with the mouthpiece facing up.
Cello and bass stands are used when the instrument is not being played, such as during intermission or before performances. Placing such an instrument on the ground might cause damage, so a stand is used to hold the instrument upright in a safe position. Many times, these stands are also known as cradle stands, as the base of the cello or bass rests in a cradle with a stability arm holding the neck of the instrument.
Besides holding instruments when they are not being played, orchestra stands may also be used to display instruments. Museums and stores need safe ways to display the instrument so that viewers or potential customers can see the instruments at all different angles. This is very important to attract a buyer who may be looking to purchase an instrument.
Traditional symphony orchestra stands for music are also known as Manhasset stands. This is a lightweight stand, made of aluminum, with a desk, or platform that holds the music, that can be raised or tilted to different angles. The stand can usually be changed easily, using one hand, and does not use any tightening mechanism. This is a popular orchestra stand because it can be altered to suit players who sit in standard chairs or those who stand when playing.
Some music stands have lights built into them, allowing musicians to read sheet music more easily in a darkened orchestra hall. Many stands can easily be adjusted for each instrument, and are very stable. Besides its use during playing, stands are often easily stacked and do not take up much storage space.