Sunday, March 17, 2013

IPad for sheet music viewing

At the first meeting I attended for the Columbus Dulcimer Club, two of the members had all their music on IPads! What a great idea! I didn't want to spend alot of money so I purchased an Apple iPad 1st Gen 64GB Black Wi-Fi + 3G AT&T 9.7in MC497LL/A Great Condition on Ebay. I didn't want to bid so I found one with free shipping and a "Buy it now" price.

But now.... I can go to my yahoo group

and download all the pdfs of the sheet music for dulcimer. (I had a hard drive failure and thought things were backed up..... but at least the music was on the yahoo group website! )

But then..... I need to be able to find the music I want to play easily. Will I want a playlist?

Found a review of Ipad apps:


The iPad is not only influencing the way that students, teachers, and businesses function but is also affecting musicians. Last month I performed my first recital where I used my iPad to display the sheet music. It was liberating not having to worry about fitting all of the pages onto my stand. My practicing has also been changed by the iPad. Now when I travel I have my complete library of music available to practice. The following AppGuide compares the available sheet music readers for the iPad. Gigging may never be the same.

Essential Apps

  • $4.99

    forScore - Maybe... -  I need to look at this one. The Columbus Dulcimer Club members use this and like it.

    by MGS Development

    For my money, forScore is the best sheet music viewer on the iPad. It was one of the first apps of this kind on the iPad and has come a long way since its debut. It combines ease of use and simplicity with features that working musicians will appreciate, such as easy navigation, annotation features including a notes section for program notes, zoom to eliminate margins, hotspots for tricky repeats, iPod-linked audio files, and easy file transfer. Scores in PDF format can be imported via iTunes as well as through file sharing with apps such as GoodReader. [??? huh??? ]If you are a pianist it comes with a decent collection of piano repertoire. The developers have been quick to enhance the feature set and hopefully they will come up with a hands-free page turning option in the future. If your looking to perform with your iPad, forScore is an essential app for your musician's toolbox.
  • $4.99

    DeepDish GigBook - NOPE - has some terrible reviews!! Needs to be updated and fixed

  • by Deep Dish Designs, LLC

    GigBook is designed for the musician who is using their iPad on stage for performance. [This is important to me....] The setlist and metronome features are particular suited for onstage usage. The large font makes moving through the setlist a breeze. The metronome uses a unique design to allow for setting initial tempos without getting in the way of the performance. If you find yourself using your iPad not only in the practice room but also on stage, you should check out GigBook for its features specifically geared toward the performing musician. With a great setlist view, tap function metronome, and many organizational tools, GigBook is designed to get you through your next gig with ease.

Notable Apps

  • $4.99

    unrealBook - Maybe

    by Aron Nelson

    A unique feature that sets unrealBook apart from the other sheet music apps is direct import access to Dropbox. [ Dropbox is free up to 2 GB - mentioned at Club. ]You can enter your Dropbox name and password and download your scores directly from within unrealBook. The app also supports annotation, including text input, iPod library access, setlists, and hotspots for repeats. The user interface isn't as intuitive as forScore but unrealBook has a lot of potential as a sheet music viewer.
  • Free

    MusicReader for iPad - Nope

    by Leoné MusicReader B.V.

    MusicReader for iPad is a free app but it requires the desktop counterpart for importing scores. MusicReader for the Mac is a mature sheet music management application that turns your Mac into a music stand. The desktop application includes music notation symbols for annotating your scores. The big downside to this app on the iPad is that it will not accept standard PDF files. Instead, PDF files need to be imported into MusicReader on the Mac and then synced to your iPad. Also, the expensive desktop app will deter many from adopting this app on the iPad.
  • $9.99

    NotationPad - Nope

    by MASPware

    NotationPad focuses on annotation is its key feature. Scores are imported via iTunes, and then need to be imported each time the app is launched. A wide variety of musical symbols are provided for annotation. The symbols can be easily resized and moved around the score and they look professional. Everything from accidentals and clefs, to ornaments and repeat signs can be added to your score. Annotated scores can be emailed as PDF or JPG but unfortunately only one page at a time.

Decent Apps

  • $4.99

    Medley: Music Score Reader - Nope

    by Sixth Corner

    Medley is a simple sheet music viewer. Page turns are fast and render quickly and scores can be transferred via file sharing from other apps. A simple pen tool provide annotations. This pretty much sums up Medley. It is functional but lacks many features of similarly-priced apps.
  • $1.99

    Sheet Music Mobile - Nope

    by Orange Slide Apps, Inc.

    Sheet Music Mobile is a very simple music reader. However, it has one serious downfall, in that the screen refresh rate is very slow on page turns. This app would be fine for practicing, but I couldn't rely on the slow page turns in performance.
  • $4.99

    Forzando - Nope

    by Drake Applications

    Forzando displays PDF sheet music acceptably and also has a built in basic synthesizer for playing simple melodies. However, the designer has opted for a scrolling document instead of page turns. I prefer to be able to tap or swipe for page turns as opposed to scrolling, which isn't consistent in how far the music scrolls.

No Personal Sheet Music

  • Free

    SonataNote - Nope

    by DensanSystem Co.,Ltd.

    SonataNote is a beautiful app for learning how to play classical piano pieces. The app comes with a modest selection of pieces and plays back a recording of the piece while highlighting the measure for following along. The interface is kind of like iBooks for sheet music. You can't load your own music and so this isn't for everyone, but it is a well-designed piano tutor.
  • $0.99

    eScore - Nope

    by Virtuosi LLC

    eScore provides access to public domain piano works and orchestral scores. It also links to wikipedia articles about composers. It's an app definitely for the music lover, but not for the musician looking to import and read their own scores.
  • Free

    Musicnotes Sheet Music Viewer - Nope

    by Musicnotes

    Musicnotes Sheet Music Viewer is a front end app for the website. Sheet music for a wide variety of instruments and styles may be purchased for download with the iPad app. There is a wide selection of intermediate music for piano, guitar, voice, winds, and strings. However, this is not an app that you can simply use to read your personally scanned scores.
  • $2.99

    Sheets- Nope

    by QD Ideas, LLC

    Sheets is another app that provides access to sheet music but does not allow importing of personal scores. Over 1000 pieces, primarily classical, are included here for piano, guitar, organ, voice, cello, and more.
  • $14.99

    Sheet Music Live HD- Nope

    by Garren Langford

    Sheet Music Live HD is really in a category all its own. This app accepts standard MIDI files either downloaded from the internet or imported from your computer and then creates sheet music based on the MIDI file. Generated sheet music can then be emailed as a PDF file for printing. With literally thousands of MIDI files across the internet, your sheet music collection could grow rapidly.

So I'm looking at software. The apps for IPad look cheap enough. May buy both and try them out....


  • unrealBook allows you to access your entire library of music or lyrics on your iPad with ease.
  • Replace your bulky and heavy binders with a small and light iPad filled with your music PDF files. The alphabetized and indexed list makes it easy to find the song you are looking for.
  • No more asking for a light for your music stand on dark stages.
  • No more worrying about a breeze turning a page by accident.
  • Search for a song quickly and easily.
  • Create bookmarks that allow you to easily load up a large PDF and go directly to a page within.
  • Use bookmarks and PDF files together to create set lists for different gigs.
  • Hot spots allow you place highlighted areas on the page that allow you to jump from one page to another when pressed (think To Coda and D.S. signs).
  • There is a built in music player so you can listen to your music while you check out the score!
  • Connect to the world via email, URL download, dropbox support.
  • Annotate your scores with auto-highlighted text and colored pens with different sizes.
  • Create set lists easily. Jump to any song in a set list directly or step through the set list sequentially.
  • Assign an iPad as a master and have multiple iPads slaved via bluetooth or WiFi!
  • Record your rehearsals or your band on stage, all while reading music in unrealBook!
  • Take pictures of a chart on a gig and create a PDF that you can use on stage.

 2. DeepDish GigBook

DeepDish GigBook turns your iPad into a truly accessible mobile musical library, keeping your scores, songbooks, charts, and lyric sheets at the tip of your fingers, ready at a moment’s notice. With its powerful organizing features you can sort your music to fit your individual needs. Keep all your songbooks in one place with “Collections”. Compile scores into infinite personalized Binders. Create dynamic Set Lists. Carry hundreds or thousands of scores with you wherever you play. DeepDish GigBook is built specifically with the performing musician in mind, with tools and a user interface no other sheet music reader offers.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Folk music in the big city

I lived in Sandusky and was a longtime member of the Firelands Dulcimer Club. We had a good time and the club still does. We got regular PR in the local newspapers. We played at local festivals and other events.

It is different here in Columbus. There are so many music majors from the local colleges and professional musicians that homemade music seems to have gotten a bit lost. There is something special about making music yourself. You don't have to be good at it, just have fun doing it. I think the amateur musicians here are more self conscious and think they have to play as well as a professional musician before they can perform for anyone. But I have watched many professional musicians perform who don't look like they are having any fun. That is the key to it. If you have fun playing, even if you aren't very good, people will enjoy your performance.