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Music Folder Question

I need to replace the folders for my church choir soon. I would like to hear opinions regarding the choice of folders - music held by cords or 3 ring binder. Which do you prefer and why?
Thank you.
Replies (12): Threaded | Chronological
on May 29, 2013 5:29am
I think it's going to depend on what kind of music you do with your church choir. If you generate a lot of your own music or use printed PDFs a lot, the three rings are a huge help in helping choir members keep themselves organized. Smaller octaves can be easily hole-punched, and it's all in there together. On the other hand, if you do a lot of larger works or the kind of published music where holes are not an option, definitely you'd want to go with the cords.
i personally would only ever use the cords in a concert situation with something big that I need to flip to specific pages; I find them annoying. But YMMV. (What does your choir use now? I'd want to know their opinion too...not that church choirs are ever an opinionated lot or anything. :-)
--Jennifer (whose choir used the three rings and swore by them)
on May 29, 2013 8:14am
Thanks for your response. We use single anthems almost exclusively.
I haven't yet asked the choir for opinions - I'll do that as well.
on May 30, 2013 3:05pm
many anthems have a loose sheet in the middle which would not be held in by a chord. I prefer the rings.
on November 27, 2014 4:38pm
Dear Pierce and all,
I design music folders.
You DON'T have to choose between the two.
There are music folders which come with 10 or 20 cords, and have *removable* ring adaptor options available, like The Black Folder and the Choralex Compact.
Conversely, you can always use magazine holders* for music you don't want to hole-punch (when most music is punched), and hold it in a Choir RingBinder.
The Choir RingBinder
My singing experience and your feedback (like the very interesting exchange with a lady at last ACDA National in Dallas, who visited my booth and said: "if your RingBinder doesn't have 2 expanding pockets, I don't want it" and left...inspire me. That encounter brought forth this year's new Choir RingBinder with two expanding pockets...which has been very well received. And yes, it can lay beautifully flat on stand or piano for directors and accompanists.
The Choir RingBinder with two expanding pockets (and 1" rings) from
*Let me short-cut the angst-filled question: "But what do I do with single sheets?!!!". Seriously. if you have a multi-page score that you are reading, you are reading from the left hand side of your folder, or the right hand side of your folder. You don't have to try to position a single sheet mid-folder to be able to use it (but I designed the base strap distance so you could without it slipping down). Place your single page on the left or right like all the longer music you read and perform. With our folders, the base strap also serves to ensure it won't slip out, even if you hold your folder at a steep angle in performance.
All our performance choral folders have a hand strap at back, and we have strapless versions available of the illustrated ringbinders too, for directors and instrumental musicians who just want an elegant durable music folder and don't plan to be holding it.
I hope this concise illustrated summary is helpful!
Applauded by an audience of 3
on May 29, 2013 9:41am
Why not use a convertible folder?  I use a MusicFolder with cords, but when the music is punched, I insert a three-ring attachment held into the folder by the elastic cords.
Kate Thickstun
on May 29, 2013 4:14pm
Our church choir just purchased Legacy Choral folders from  They are 9x12 gusset pockets, sturdy metal corners, pencil holder with mechanical pencil supplied, bottom retention strap, and 7 elastic strings.  They ship within 24 hours.  For our music librarian having the pocket and strings is much prefered to the 3 ring binder.  Music is added and removed every week and having to open and close the rings 100 times (large choir) at a minimum each week was not an option.  They run $14.99 but you save 8% if 2 or more are purchased.  We love them.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 30, 2013 7:20am
We just purchased the Legacy folders for our choir.  We dealt with the company directlly (Marlo Plactics) and after much discussion we went with a 3 ring binder with no jumper (tab on the bottom  used to open/close the rings).  It was considered a special order and the cost was a little over a dollar extra for each folder but was well worth the cost.  We did this for three reasons, first the standard rings are 3/4 inch and we needed the extra room 1 inch special order rings gave us .  Seconinchd and thirdly are that the jumper rubs on the music, wearing on the music and making more noise with page turns.  I am the librarian for our choral society of 120 and I don't insert the music in the folders myself, they claim it from the folio cabinet every week. 
on May 30, 2013 9:24am
I like 3-ring binders. The pages are easier to turn, and the music doesn't tip to an awkward angle or fall out accidentally. Also, different sizes of music fit and don't stick out over the edges. For a number of years, our choir had both options for members. After awhile, everyone was using the 3-ring binders. The other ones are down in a cabinet now, out of the way.
I've got early-onset arthritis in my hands. Some days opening the binder is difficult. I went to an office supply store recently and bought a one-touch style. There is one tab at the bottom that opens the whole binder easily, and it doesn't bend or misalign the rings. If you have any singers with arthritis you might look into those.
on May 31, 2013 4:05am
You need a folder like the one that come from this company:
We have them for our church choir. For my professional Chorus use we have one a level up - with a three ring binder insert in the middle and the stretchy straps to hold octavos.  I cannot live without mine.
Our church choir assistant told us that we were using them. Choices slow down the process ;)
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 31, 2013 7:16am
You can also use plastic magazine holders in a regular binder.  They are usually 2/$1.00, and you would need one for each single anthem for each singer.  This would give you the flexibility to use punched and non-punched music without getting any specialized equipment.
on February 26, 2014 10:13am
We honestly just use inexpensive black 3-ring binders from the office supply store.  Most of our music has holes punched in it, and I have purchased a bunch of magazine holders for any music that is not punched.  The binders are inexpensive enough that I can replace them as they get worn and not worry about finding enough money.  Some of my singers also have a plastic zip pencil pouch in their folder for pencils, tissue, lozenges, whatever else.
Julie Ford
Applauded by an audience of 1
on April 22, 2015 8:33am
Hello, most church choirs prefer a sturdy, easy-to-hold folder that will accommodate letter size (8-1/2" x 11") paper, as well as anthems.
Visit Valiant Music Supply for a great selection of choir folders - all made in the USA.
John Avila,
Valiant Music Supply, Inc.
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