Detachable music pockets – why?

Edited: October 9, 2018, 7:57 AM · In my 35 year experience making violin cases, only very rarely have I been requested to make a detachable music pocket. The reason was usually to be able to hold, alternatively, normal sheet music and much larger conductors’ scores. That makes sense.

But this past year, I’ve been almost weekly asked if my cases have detachable pockets, and I am wondering why.

Is it simply because it’s becoming commonplace that many plastic and CF cases new to the market, lacking a case cover, attach the music pocket by means of snap buttons? Or is there suddenly now a real reason why one would need to remove the pocket in some moments and reattach it in others?

Despite my having played violin semi-professionally for 20 years I just don’t get it. An empty pocket by itself weighs only around 120g., and its removal would practically annull this advantage owing to the hardware necessary to make it attach and detach.

Anyone’s thoughts are appreciated. Cheers!

Replies (27)

October 9, 2018, 8:15 AM · Hello Mr Musafia, it is a good question :-). I have to admit that the first thing I tried to do with your double violin case bought in your workshop in Cremona just a week ago, was trying to detach the pocket :-)

But I am certainly not a typical customer. Not playing in orchestra, playing mostly for fun and strings testing procedure and travelling with violins mostly for demonstration purpose... But it has not been a big problem. The pocket is thin and light, the case is great.

Edited: October 9, 2018, 9:01 AM · I can try to guess.
People who use a violin for multiple purposes such as orchestra and jazz group may want to remove the pocket for the jazz, as it's easier than removing the orchestral music and risking it getting into disarray. Or it's an easy way to transfer the same music from one violin case to another. You could have different types of music in two labelled pockets that could be swapped around. If the pocket were well designed, you could use it as an attaché case or document wallet to be held in the hand.
Your cases are quite expensive, and so I'd expect more than average functionality from them in addition to build quality.
October 9, 2018, 9:41 AM · I don't know. I have not had a case with a detachable music pocket. I am thinking detachable music pockets have become more popular. But, in my experience, the zippers on the music pocket part of the case are the first thing to break. So, maybe people are wanting a detachable music pocket to avoid that? My cases have never been of the quality of a Musafia so maybe zippers breaking isn't a problem in that quality of case. Sometimes, too, it is very easy to overload the music pocket and I worry about the hinges when the case is open.
October 9, 2018, 10:45 AM · In my particular circumstances: at my class, we must leave the cases in another room and bring in just the violin, music and accesories. The detachable music pocket and accesories bag is useful for that. It's not a life changing thing, but habits are hard to change.
October 9, 2018, 11:37 AM · I have no idea why anyone would even want a pocket, much less a detachable one. It makes the case heavy and it's inclined to tipping over. The big black orchestra folders don't fit in them. I get Carlos' point about limited space in the rehearsal venue, but why not just keep your stuff in a backpack or canvas bag?
Is it because of men not being socially allowed to carry bags?
October 9, 2018, 7:48 PM · Guessing, but I suppose that some people just like the option to do either or, and find the empty music sheet pocket unnecessarily bulky. I myself rather carry a separate accessory/music bag.
October 9, 2018, 8:59 PM · I have no wish for a detachable music pocket but I use the zippered music pocket on my case all the time. The big black orchestra folder stays at work, and I take home the music from inside it. The pocket keeps the music safer than a backpack would, and it's one less thing to keep track of.
October 9, 2018, 10:53 PM · I've wondered the exact same thing many times before. Pockets are useful, but them being detachable just doesn't make sense; any situation where I would need to bring the music separate from the case is a situation where I would just remove the music from the pocket and bring it to the desired location.

I guess if you're in an area where it's raining and you need to separate the music from the violin case, but you don't want to get the music wet? Seems like a pretty niche situation but I guess it's possible.

WITH all of that said, if I were in your position and I got weekly requests about detachable pockets, I would say "of course, for a *price*!" If the customers want it and they're willing to pay extra, why not?

Also, I think you're right: BAM started the detachable pocket craze. I think they *had* to make it detachable in order for it to work, but figured they would say it was a "feature" rather than just an engineering compromise.

Edited: October 10, 2018, 5:17 AM · First of all thank you all for your thoughtful attention and answers! And, Bohdan, it was a pleasure to meet you and your lovely family - I hope you enjoyed the party!

So it seems to me that there is no true "new" need for a detachable music pocket, but rather more simply the new availability of this feature on some new case designs.

To answer the unasked question, we've experimented ourselves with this solution, and have seen that it takes about an hour of labor to properly realize this feature. And the case does look a bit funny with the pocket removed and the unoccupied snaps visible on the case lid.

So I think we will try offering it as an option and see what happens, although I don't predict great demand. But who knows, I could be wrong...

Once again, thanks everyone your your kind attention!

October 10, 2018, 11:02 AM · I have a very basic student violin which came in a somehow contoured case. The case has an external zipper pocket which is probably designed to carry music sheets. I absolutely hate it. It has not enough room for carrying a book, so I just use it to carry a set of replacement strings, and I carry my music in a document folder, in my hand. Another thing I don't like about the case is that it just has a strap, so you can't wear it as a backpack.

I will soon get a new case. Probably nothing very fancy, since I will just carry an instrument which is worth less than €350, and a bow in that price. But I know I want it to be light, in a contoured/dart shape and without a music pocket.

October 10, 2018, 11:17 AM · I've got cases like that for ukes, Miguel. I keep harmonicas and a tuning fork in the pockets. This is the first time it has ever occurred to me that the harmonicas make the tuning fork unnecessary!
Edited: October 10, 2018, 11:48 AM · A friend of mine basically uses his Musafia like a briefcase, as he takes his violin to and from work. He's a lawyer and totes around a truly astounding number of documents in it -- so much so I swear the thing is a form of transdimensional storage, since it seems inconceivable that so much is stored in it with the case still looking flat. Every time I see that I deeply regret not having bought the extended music pocket for mine. :-)

(You should totally show a document stack with the regular and extended pockets in your website pictures!)

October 10, 2018, 12:18 PM · Andrew, I guess these cases can be right for an ukelele... but they're a pain for carrying a violin! I don't know what will I get, but I know I don't like my current case at all.

By the way, ukes seem fun and harmonicas are great (even more with the tuning idea...) I must have an old harmonica somewhere in my house... maybe in the boxroom... I'd like to find it again!

October 11, 2018, 6:09 PM · I agree with Julie: the extra weight in the lid make the case tip dangerously backwards as soon as we fit the violin. In some cases (haha!) the lock then scratches the back of the violin.
Edited: October 12, 2018, 1:24 AM · That, Adrian, depends on two basic factors: the design of the case, and the capacity of the music pocket.

With a flat-bottomed case and a lid aperture angle inferior to 90° (optimum is about 80°, less than that then the lid won't stay open), you can often load a lot of music into the pouch before the case's center of gravity falls outside its form stability limit.

For curiosity, having access to such a case, I found it that it took six issues of The Strad magazine (notoriously heavy on content) before the case would tip over. Many music pouches however won't even fit that much paper; other cases tip over even if they don't have a music pocket at all!

In any event, it's one more reason why not to overload the music pouch on any case.

October 12, 2018, 4:05 AM · I stand corrected!

But neither I nor my students have such well designed cases. And if the open angle depends only on the hinges, I add two short thin internal straps to limit the movement (also handy when some idiot wants to displace my case by grabbing the lid..)(other people can be a plague..)

Edited: October 12, 2018, 8:10 AM · Internal straps are a good idea, because especially in the past even some famous case makers relied on hinging alone to calibrate the amount of aperture of the lid, overstressing the screws that held them attached to the shell and leading to their premature failure.

And...if the case has internal lid straps which allow the case to open further than that 80-85°, it's usually not too difficult for someone with average DIY skills to shorten them and re-affix them to reduce the case from tipping over if loaded.

October 12, 2018, 10:57 AM · I suspect what you are seeing here is "feature creep." Someday, Bam is going to make a violin case with a cup-holder. And when they do, your customers will start asking for it. You know those "compare" web sites? Yeah there will be a category for "cup holder" and in the "Musafia" column it'll say "none" and there goes your livelihood.
October 12, 2018, 12:10 PM · A cup holder, now that's a great idea, I often carry a mug along for coffee break, that would free up one hand!
Edited: October 12, 2018, 12:30 PM · If you make your own custom cases, then perhaps there's an opportunity to innovate and get your products to stand out. Think in terms of a musician. What do they use it for, and how can it be improved?

Perhaps a detachable music folder with:
1) compartments to sort music,
2) a pencil slot
3) cloth handles
4) a see-through card slot on the outside, so people can put their name on a card and slip it inside. (so they know it's yours and not someone elses)
4) yadda, yadda, yadda.

A mini briefcase that attaches to a violin case.

October 12, 2018, 5:00 PM · Not to be snarky, but when are we getting cup holders? Those are really in fashion, but haven’t quite seemed to break the instrumentalist market.
BTW I LOVE your cases and would not change a single thing in your features and selection, that is unless you feel you have to because of demand. I would not presume to advise you on a business you do so well.
October 13, 2018, 12:07 PM · For the American market, there also needs to be a place for your Glock 9-mm pistol.

Darn -- I should be patenting all these ideas.

October 13, 2018, 4:37 PM · That’s GL that makes weapons cases, not Musafia.
October 13, 2018, 11:35 PM · I have to admit that I'd really like to be able to strap a water bottle to my case. I take one to every rehearsal. :-)
October 14, 2018, 12:01 AM · We are too traditional...
All is about the phone. First one to have integrated USB plugs and high capacity rechargeable batteries, will get the market...
Better yet, a dedicated phone pocket with charger and mini speaker & microphone. Not a case anymore, but a portable practice studio...
October 14, 2018, 12:09 AM · As to patenting the Glock-in-a-detachable-pocket idea: The Second Amendment probably couunts as prior art...
October 14, 2018, 12:00 PM · OK, people, this is top secret but I'll admit that I am working on an integrated 3-D printer. Just think, your plane is late, you've missed dinner, and you can print a spaghetti alla carbonara via your dedicated cellphone app. It's still a beta version but I aim to be able to make the plate and fork edible too.

Now is that cool or what?

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