What is in your music room?

April 7, 2021, 2:14 PM · Evening all,

My partner and I are in the process of buying a house, today we had an offer accepted, which is really exciting.

Obviously, I’m now thinking about rooms, space, purpose etc. The smallest bedroom will be my study/music room for the time being, with a potential space for a piano downstairs.

What’s in your music room? I’m intrigued to know what people tend to keep in them.


Replies (62)

Edited: April 7, 2021, 2:33 PM · I use my bedroom... so imagine all the stuff a teen keeps in their bedroom. I have scores of the Bruch g minor, Mendelssohn E minor, Wieniawski 2, Paganini’s Caprices (24 is the only one marked up), Sarasate Zig and Intro and Tarantelle, Beethoven Spring Sonata, Vieuxtemps 5 (Henle), Bach Sonatas and Partitas, Tchaikovsky Meditation, and other stuff I can’t remember atm (I am not home).

Edit: Mozart 5 too

April 7, 2021, 2:45 PM · Same as Mike haha. All the stuff a young guy would have in my bedroom. Plus several instruments and loads of sheet music for various pieces for a variety of instruments
April 7, 2021, 2:59 PM · I currently try and make my practice space a place that is comfortable, but not too comfortable. I have a full length mirror, a place to sit, good lighting, some plants and a computer that I can do video calls on.

I'll probably be moving to a studio apartment soon, so it will be more about carving out some space within the whole that is free from clutter - I will probably try and carve out a space within that that I can use for violin and meditation.

April 7, 2021, 3:13 PM · You can double such a practice room as your library, i.e., line the walls with bookshelves. It can then also serve as sound insulation. Because you want a dry sound in your practice room.
Edited: April 7, 2021, 3:16 PM · I'm in a 2 bedroom apartment. I play in the living room so my music stand is by the edge of the floor to the kitchen. I need some better place for my stack of music which sits on the passthrough to the kitchen along with my rosin, shoulder rest and other accoutrements. My instrument case is on the love seat.

If I want to hear myself better I move to the master bedroom which is my den/office/library (the Ann Cave).

My banjos and mandolin are on String Swing hangers in the bedroom. In the summer when the humidity is okay the viola is there too.

April 7, 2021, 3:16 PM · My music room occupies much of my basement. It has a grand piano, proper musician posture chairs for a quartet, six music stands, bookshelves and storage for music, CD shelves, a full L-shaped desk plus desk chair, an additional full-sized table (used to be a dining table in my post-college apartment), a small laptop table plus a laptop that's a permanent "Zoom station" now, tripod-mounted webcam, tripod for a smartphone, tablet stand, microphone stand, stand for a ring light, a reclining chair and ottoman, other spare chairs, a giant full-length double-width standing mirror, and a bunch of miscellaneous Lego.
Edited: April 7, 2021, 3:28 PM · My music room is also my home office, so desk with office computer and personal laptop for Zoom lessons, 2 bookcases, half-length wall mirror, and a portable steam humidifer for the cold season, and 2 music stands.

Lydia, I want your music room :)

April 7, 2021, 5:02 PM · Lydia, I am experiencing envy!
April 7, 2021, 5:31 PM · Because of the legos I presume.
April 7, 2021, 5:51 PM · I use a corner of my living room (a small, shared apartment). I have a music stand, a desk, a chair, a mini-bookshelf, a box filled with violin-related stuff, a cat tree, and a window towards a dog park.
April 7, 2021, 6:15 PM · Mike, YES! As a child I didn't have them, I had Lincoln Logs, which are also cool.
April 7, 2021, 6:25 PM · Where are everyone's stereo systems? I have systems in my jam room and my music room/teaching studio.
Edited: April 7, 2021, 6:47 PM · My main stereo system is in the living room, attached to the TV. If I'm seriously listening to music, though, I usually use headphones rather than the speakers.

I have a pair of floor-standing speakers in the music room but not the rig to connect it to. The room is wired for proper A/V but I haven't felt the need to actually get it set up that way.

When we constructed this house, having a dedicated room for chamber music was important to me, and it's definitely one of the attractions of the house for me. I have a pianist friend who built an entire first-floor extension to his house for the purposes of having a pair of concert-grand pianos coupled with a high vaulted ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows, though. Definitely beats the basement!

Edited: April 7, 2021, 7:04 PM · My "music room" is my living room. I'm in a one-bedroom apartment.

Most of my music stuff is in one corner: a music stand, violin and viola, several shelves of a bookcase dedicated to music (sections for violin solo, viola solo, chamber music, etudes, study scores, and reference materials), and a plastic file tub full of old orchestra parts. One shelf of another bookcase is used as a place to put a small camera tripod, metronome, extra pencils and sharpener, and a box of extra violin/viola accessories. I have a desk lamp placed on top of a bookcase where it illuminates my music stand.

There's an upright piano on the other side of the room, and I have four folding chairs in a closet where I can easily bring them out for chamber music. I also have a pair of large speakers that I don't normally use, but sometimes plug into a laptop computer if I want a backing track.

Although the room is quite small, the furniture is arranged to leave enough space for up to a quintet or possibly a sextet in the center of the room.

Edited: April 7, 2021, 8:09 PM · Our "music room" is wherever music is happening. Daughter could be practicing her cello in the living room or the basement, or she might be noodling either on the living room upright piano or my stage piano in the basement. I usually practice in the basement guest bedroom because it's well insulated and I can practice at night after everyone else is in bed. So that's a bedroom, but it's also my home office. I can't claim very much feng shui.

An ideal music room for *practicing* is a place where you feel you can really work without bothering others, and where you have the basic things you need -- a stand, a chair, and maybe a small desk for keeping your journal, marking parts, etc. You need a few shelves for your current working music and so forth, a nice place to keep your instrument(s), plenty of light, and a mirror. These days I think it would be good to have the capability to do Skype or Zoom lessons even if that's not going to be your main lesson mode. If you store your instruments there, then you need controls for temperature and humidity (look at David Burgess's website for advice on that).

Ideal music rooms for chamber rehearsals require a lot of space and probably at least an upright piano. If I were getting an upright piano today, I would get an upright-style digital piano, probably one of the higher-end Yamaha Clavinova models.

And ideal music rooms for recording are more sophisticated still. There you need to consider acoustical treatments, microphones, cameras and lighting (if doing videos) channel strip, interface, computer and DAW software.

My main music library is in the laundry room because that's where we had space (I own a small home). It is organized using a database that I created myself based on the principle of ultimate simplicity.

Like Lydia I also have a friend who did a big home addition to have a high-vaulted-ceiling music room. In her case, to house a piano and her three harpsichords! Only the pandemic has prevented us from getting together there to play Bach. She's a terrific harpsichordist with a conservatoire background and so forth.

April 7, 2021, 8:53 PM · What isn't a music room? I'll include the bathroom on the basis of the one time I blasted some Indian music in the living room loudly enough to hear clearly while taking a shower, which turned out to be especially memorable as the one time the neighbours complained.
April 7, 2021, 9:10 PM · Two large bookcases full of sheet music and scores, a handmade fiddle and bow made by a distant Kentucky ancestor, more bookshelves with music-related books and biographies, a digital piano, a music stand, a drop-leaf table with chairs, a futon, a chair where a student’s parent would sit in the before time, an Oriental rug that had belonged to my great-aunt, and a dorm-size fridge we bought last summer so our oldest son could isolate in that room for two weeks when he came home for the summer. (It was built as a mother-in-law suite and has a full bathroom and its own outside door.)
April 7, 2021, 11:21 PM · A piano, two music stands, a storage place for sheet music, and an analog clock from my childhood.
April 8, 2021, 2:21 AM · I'm in a one-bedroom apartment. What's NOT in my music room is the kitchen sink (and the bed). Funnily enough, my bedroom has floor to ceiling mirrors all over one wall, and I'm wondering about the logistics of making that my music room.
Edited: April 14, 2021, 9:18 AM · Gordon, brilliant for reading music daytime, especially if the mirrors are opposite the windows, but you'll need some serious sound absorption on the other two walls.
P.S. You don't want to know what's in any of MY rooms - I have no instinct for what "tidy" means!
April 8, 2021, 7:16 AM · Nobody's mentioned having a disco ball or a hookah yet.
April 8, 2021, 10:07 AM · Disco ball is a good idea to check if your bow is straight from many different angles, and to encourage a solid and danceable sense of pulse.
April 8, 2021, 11:10 AM · Where we used to hold our uke group, we had a disco ball and UV lighting!
The UV was good, as genuine Aquila strings supposedly fluoresce under UV, but I had a set where only three of the strings fluoresced.
Edited: April 8, 2021, 3:00 PM · I se that the OP is a violin teacher planning to also teach viola soon.

My music room in this house is the 2nd bedroom, square with about 150 sq. ft. I used it as my primary work space for about 12 years AND for teaching violin and cello students. I retired from both of those activities. Now it is just my music-practice room and also contains one of our printers.

When I taught I also had an electronic piano in the music room - it did not take up much space. My wife's upright is in the living room.

Before moving here I taught in our previous home for about 25 years.
Important for teaching is a well-lit, stable music stand. In my teaching room I have always had an extended width Manhasset stand. Storage space for music. Safe places for your own instrument cases and those of your student(s). (Students should be taught to treat their instruments with as much care and respect as if Stradivari had made them; so they should always replace their instrument in its case when it leaves their hands - and they should loosen the bow and clean the strings -- and the cases should not be placed on a surface used for sitting or on the floor!) It can be helpful for your studio to have equipment to play CDs or iPad or some other way to bring the music, professionally performed, to the students' ears.

If you have a hardwood or other hard, bare floor, you might want a rug to help absorb sound - if that is a problem; it also can help if a violin is dropped. (I did a lot of my teaching at student's homes, where I had no control over that -- but it was a selling point that got me students other teachers were not seeking.)

I think these are the essentials. Other things in the room are personal - like 20 cubic feet of music on a 6-foot high book case (and in the closet along with a couple of cellos). There are also 2 cellist's chairs and an armless rolling desk chair. My music CD collection (between 2,000 and 3,000 in albums because "jewel boxes" are just a waste of space) is housed there. A 6-1/2 foot long crowded desk surface with storage beneath it and 6-feet of low book cases to hold some of the CD albums and one of my sound systems. There are now also 2 single-width beds in the room replacing the convertible love seat that was in there when I was teaching (for rare sleep-over visitors).

I once had "dreams" of fitting a string quartet of people into that room, but that was before the beds went in - and I play in ensembles elsewhere.

April 8, 2021, 2:37 PM · And here I was thinking that fine violins and bows were expensive.

As it turns out having a place to play said violins costs more!

April 8, 2021, 7:18 PM · The practice room doubles as the family library, with a piano that I rarely touch, a stereo system that I do not often use. It is an optional home office space at the front of the house, without a proper door.
April 9, 2021, 5:45 AM · "What is in your music room?"

Everything but the kitchen sink, unfortunately. No excessive sound reflections, though..

April 9, 2021, 8:57 AM · I have really enjoyed reading what everyone has in their music rooms/corners/sections.

I am intrigued though, is it normal for USA houses to have basements?

Very jealous of Lydia's set up, particularly the lego bit. We have lots of lego too, including the piano, but I would like a real piano...

Currently deciding on colours!

Edited: April 9, 2021, 9:07 AM · Depends on where in the USA the house is. The two houses I lived in growing up, one in the Midwest and the other on the East coast, had basements, as did my grandparents’ house in Kentucky. Here in South Texas almost nobody has a basement. It has to do with the type of soil here.

Our house does not have a basement either, but the mother-in-law suite that I use as my studio was added on behind the garage by the original owners as a place for the wife’s mother to live. That room is actually what sold the house to us. It has its own entrance so my students can come and go without interfering with family life.

April 9, 2021, 9:10 AM · I remember owning 20 Lego bricks when I was a kid.
Nowadays the kids have Lego Death Stars and Lego nuclear bunkers.
Edited: April 9, 2021, 10:55 AM · I have two snigger-snigger, both in the lower (walk-out) level of the house. One is large enough for an octet to fit in easily, with a small audience too I guess. I don't have a traditional piano because of maintenance issues and I have to share it with a jazz musician - so we settled on a modern keyboard with classical piano simulation. That room has views out on the garden, a couple of bookshelves (and a corner with my telescope stuff) but else is kept open and flexible for groups.

The other one is at the other end of the house, also in the lower level and looking out over the garden. It has a couch, a lounging chair (which serves mostly as a violin case stand ;)) a wall of bookcases with music, a CD player (hardly ever used), a wood burning stove, and boxes of violin stuff. And is deliciously cluttered. Oh, there are several other instruments in there too including a fretless base, an acoustic guitar, a cello, a small electric piano etc

There is also a third studio, about the same size as the other two put together for the aforementioned jazz - with keyboard, electronics, guitars, drums, sax, etc lounging sofa, big screen, video for internet (once they get cable here) etc..

Congrats on the house - have fun with the music-building, its a large part of the fun I find...

April 9, 2021, 11:08 AM · Elise I am thinking of selling my upright piano (because of maintenance issues -- it's starting to need work on the action) and using the proceeds to buy a new digital stage piano, for which I would build a semi-elegant wooden stand containing monitor speakers. Then, when I have a jazz gig, I can just lift the piano off and take it with me.

Andrew, that is a LOT of stuff to have in a 12x12 room. I was almost believing it until you mentioned the two twin beds.

Edited: April 9, 2021, 8:08 PM · My stereo is in my car. Serious listening is through hearing aids from my laptop or phone.
April 9, 2021, 10:28 PM · Paul, you have to realize that until we have company to sleep in those twin beds that is where I have 3 cases for 5 instrument right now, some extra music and a few other things. And, remember, the elex piano is not in the room any longer.

You can believe me!

April 9, 2021, 10:37 PM · I just have house and studio envy all over the place now. Gotta go to confession.
April 10, 2021, 1:51 PM · Ann, I am with you :-)
April 10, 2021, 3:09 PM · Andrew, I didn't really mean that I didn't believe you! It just came out that way. :)
April 10, 2021, 3:26 PM · Oh... Lydia... how fortunate you are!

My dream is to own a grand piano someday and a place where I can play without disturbing anyone. Meanwhile, my practice room is a bit of a mixture. It has two big bookshelves that occupy one wall, with many books, and a space reserved for music sheet. In front of it, there’s a wardrobe along the other wall, in which I can keep things. On one of the other walls there’s a clavinova. On the opposite side, a window, a desk, a chair and some drawers that make like a little office, in which I can read or work if necessary. It’s a pretty comfortable place to be in.

Edited: April 10, 2021, 11:31 PM · A fun thread I can't resist!

I don't have a single, dedicated music room. I live in a one-bedroom apartment and my whole apartment is one big music room!

My living room is connected in an open-concept sort of way to my foyer and kitchen. I do my practicing in my living room, which includes an antique Knabbe grand piano, music-themed art, including an oil painting of a violin, dated 1896 - the same year my piano! I also have an authentic Neume on parchment from the middle ages and most of my library, including hundreds of books on music.

Other instruments on display include an erhu, a sitar and a balalika. On my piano are two collectable old cases, and two more on two respective side tables. I also have two wooden carved music stands in addition to standard ones. I keep my sheet music in magazine folders - and have about 45 of those, about 2/3 in the living room and the rest in my kitchen which also houses my "Strad" magazine collection, going back to the 1980's, many issues of "Strings" etc.

My computer is in my bedroom where I do my remote teaching. Also in the bedroom are two purpose-built cubbies to hold violin cases.

Even my bathroom is musical! On the walls are photos of violins, violinists and framed letters to me from Isaac Stern and Aaron Rosand.

Hmmm...I think I need a bigger place!

April 10, 2021, 11:48 PM · US houses have basements when the geology allows that to be practical. For instance, in the California earthquake zones, houses don't have basements.

Many basements used to be unfinished, though -- i.e. they are dark, low-ceilinged concrete holes. In more recent decades it's become very common to finish a basement just like any other floor of the house. Many new houses have walk-out basements -- i.e. basements that have an exterior door and openable windows and whatnot. That's more common where the terrain slopes, and part of the basement might be underground and part of it might not be.

April 11, 2021, 12:10 AM · On basement. Even before the pandemic, many people (in the US) have turned their basements into home theaters with state of the art projectors, surround sound, and tiered seats.
April 11, 2021, 10:27 AM · My practice room is in my DIY-finished basement. My basement is the almost the same size as the rest of my house, so it doubled the useful floor space (from about 1400 to 2630 sq ft). However the ceiling is only 7 feet, and I am 6 feet tall, so I cannot practice standing up. I learned this the hard way by shattering two bow tip-plates.

I bought this small house because it's incredibly convenient to where I work (30 minutes), to where I shop (10 minutes), to the elementary school (10 minutes), to downtown (25 minutes) and the public library (15 minutes). These are times for walking to these destinations. We do not have a garage. I'm happy to say that the Zillow estimate is more than twice what I paid for this house in the late 1990s.

April 11, 2021, 11:41 AM · Around here finished basements are the norm except in the small houses built in the 50's near the flood plain which were built on slabs. My apartment is single story and on a slab which I hate because it puts the utilities in the living quarters meaning you have to pay attention about water leaks.
April 12, 2021, 8:54 AM · I practice in our dining room. I do this for the acoustics, haha! I have a little corner to myself. It has our piano, my stand, a shelf with my scores and books, my violin case, rosin, polish, extra cloths, etc. a bluetooth speaker for listening to stuff or using the metronome, highlighter tapes, extra pencils, a coaster for a water bottle or drink while I'm practicing, all of the Suzuki books, my set of chinrest covers, and some artwork.
April 12, 2021, 2:22 PM · I think we need an exclusive club for people who finish all the Suzuki books.
April 12, 2021, 7:02 PM · How many of us can claim to "finish" Mozart 4 and Mozart 5?
April 12, 2021, 7:34 PM · Mike, I will eventually probably start my own club of people who never finish Suzuki book 4 or 5 after a certain number of years of daily practice.
Edited: April 12, 2021, 10:32 PM · No one... someone always complains that it's not "playful" enough. I don't have the taste for the better Mozart violin concerti, and I also regrettably feed into this cycle of having complaints whenever listening to people play these pieces.
April 12, 2021, 9:25 PM · The point is not to use books 9 and 10. The point is to buy them so that you have the whole set. Even if you work on M4 and M5, and even if you have the Suzuki books 9 and 10, you still buy some other fancy-pants edition like Barenreiter so that you can say things like, "Oh, everyone knows the Suzuki bowings are all crap."

Then, and only then, can you claim full club membership.

To upgrade your membership, get the Paganini Caprices and run over it a few times with your car in the driveway so it looks used.

Edited: April 12, 2021, 10:34 PM · right this way sir

Edit: I have this Galamian edition that has these cheap staples. No need for a car! Aren't I the luckiest person in the world? Free access to the poser's club!

April 12, 2021, 11:10 PM · Paul, "I don't want to belong to any club that wants me as a member!"
April 13, 2021, 6:09 PM · I could claim to have finished Mozart 4 and 5 if I spilled varnish on the covers (referring also to another post).
Edited: April 14, 2021, 10:23 AM · Paul, I actually bought the Barenreiter Vivaldi A minor and discovered that some of the notes were changed to make it easier. I got it to make it more convenient for my piano friend. I ended up buying her the Suzuki piano accompaniment book. No more Barenreiters for me. Don't care about the slick covers. Now everybody's happy.

I think I'm going to get stuck in book 5 anyway.

Edited: April 14, 2021, 11:18 AM · Very interesting, Ann.
The only first prize I ever won in a piano competition was for a piece of Debussy. I bought a copy of it the year before last, only to find I had been playing a much simplified version. I was mortified.

@Paul "the ceiling is only 7 feet, and I am 6 feet tall, so I cannot practice standing up."

I'm 5'5", no problem.

FWIW, James Galway in his Menuhin Guide to the Flute says, if you are a soloist, practise standing up. If you are an orchestra member, practise sitting down. Galway makes a lot of sense.

April 14, 2021, 12:44 PM · Barenreiter editions, along with Henle, are the best, most authoritative scholarly urtexts available today, usually. They do not "change things to make it easier". Any Vivaldi concerto is easy enough that they do not require changing due to difficulty, in any event. (And certainly Barenreiter's target audience doesn't care about difficulty.)

If a note in a Barenreiter edition is different than what is in another edition, it is because Barenreiter has a source for why that note should be different. If the note is controversial, there will usually be a comment to that effect. Misprints are very rare in their editions.

April 14, 2021, 1:09 PM · There's a Barenrieter "Easy Concerto" version, edited by Kurt Sassmannshaus, that has much easier solo passages instead of what's in the Nachez version most of us know. I am not sure what the original Vivaldi had.
Edited: April 14, 2021, 1:19 PM · My music room is the second bedroom in our house, which I also use as an office because that's where my writing desk is. I had no idea that I'd be more or less trapped in this room all day for a year and I look forward to going back to my real office across town someday.

Aside from the writing desk, there are three large bookcases with scores, books about music and composers, a lot of assorted non-fiction and the S-through-Z part of our fiction library. The shelves all overflow until we figure out where in the house to put up more bookshelves. We have about 15 currently.

The room has two music stands, an electric piano, a guitar and amplifier, my violin and case of course, a stack of assorted violin-and-piano music in one corner, a large mirror that i need to move to a different wall if I can figure out where, and oddly enough a French chaise lounge in the middle of the room that somehow is never in the way even though this is not a large room. Two big windows, a view of tulips, roses, camellias, etc.

April 14, 2021, 1:33 PM · Laurie has already addressed the changes made to the Vivaldi a minor concerto in the Suzuki books.


April 14, 2021, 4:15 PM · In the west wing I keep my guitars, banjos, and other string instruments along with amplifiers and such like
April 14, 2021, 7:14 PM · Ann wrote, "I got it to make it more convenient for my piano friend."

Try these simplified reductions (link below). I play the piano and have made great use of them, accompanying my own kids as well as other kids in my teacher's studio. Not only are the Suzuki piano reductions actually fairly hard, they're also rather busy for accompanying a young student playing a fractional instrument.


I like the Nachos version. Goes great with a couple of beers.

April 18, 2021, 9:36 AM · My music room is my living room. The front door opens into the living room. I teach. I am not a neat person. I have a hard enough time keeping the living room/teaching studio presentable. I didn't want to use a different room and have people walking through the messy house. There are 3 windows on the wall with the door. The walls are painted various bright, primary colors.

The floor is cork. It is a printed cork which looks like pine. Violins have fallen on it and not been damaged. It feels great underfoot. It absorbs sound. I am very happy with that choice.

I didn't do as well with the ceiling fan. If it is on, it distorts the sound coming out of the violin. I don't have high ceilings so taller people can't be under it or their bows risk running into it.

There is an upright grand piano. A standing, easily moved full length mirror. Extra chairs and stands in a closet. A small wall (2.5 ft?) between kitchen and dining room is painted with chalkboard paint so I can write announcements on it.

There is a bench/ottoman with storage for people to put their cases. A place on the wall for people to hang their coats. A cat tree though they don't come out during lessons. A plant on top of the cat tree. I didn't want a fireplace but that wall makes a great spot for storage. There are 3 six foot shelves that I hung myself and managed to get level. Below that on the floor is a cube storage unit from IKEA. A couple of the cubicles have double drawer inserts which are very convenient. Music and books are on the shelves and in the cubes. Often the top of the cube storage unit ends up serving as a catch-all which is why I have moveable fabric panels in front of the storage area. They are pretty and hide my mess.

There is also an old jelly cabinet that holds my bag of sponges, shoulder rests, chinrest fitting kits. There is an exercise ball and plans to have different sizes of exercise balls available. I keep 4 chairs and 2 stands out. One stand has a single swing thing for an instrument. The other has a double which holds my violin and viola. That is super convenient.

Currently, the bench has a 3 drawer tall plastic storage unit sitting on it. The laptop sits on top of it. Music I am using in lessons is in the storage unit. This lets me look out the windows while teaching online. And gives me better lighting since I am facing into the light. I had tried using a desk in a different room for a while. I find this works much better. Hang my instruments on the stand. Put the music on the stand. Have a little stand on the other side that works as a desk for writing. Also holds music I am working on. Unfortunately, it tends to accumulate things too.

There is an end table the professional journals go on or parents can use to write on to take notes.

The room doesn't have a lot of wall space unfortunately. It aesthetically could use improvement but I am not very good with that.

This ended up long.

April 18, 2021, 1:39 PM · Paul, thank you for the link. I'm very fortunate that my friend is a professional musician and she sight reads wonderfully. Though if I give her simplified parts I'm sure she will appreciate them because then I'm not making her work for free!

Scott, I've listened to Perlman's Vivaldi A minor and it's almost exactly like the Sassmanshaus Barenreiter edition. I'm playing the Suzuki one though because I'm just a beginner and it does require skils which will be needed further on.

It's all fun anyway. This is a hobby, when it isn't fun any more I'll stop.

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