The future of sheet music is here

January 26, 2016 at 05:11 PM · Henle Verlag iPad urtext scores

Replies

January 26, 2016 at 06:57 PM · Yes and no-it will always be but an option, rather than the norm.

-Many solo performers memorize everything anyway

-Generational gap (do you honestly believe even 75% of people use digital books a la Kindle?)

-Lack of general tablet ubiquity-as much as the Apple brand has tried, a smartphone is more "essential" (and practical) than tablets, and as affordable as some can be, one simply doesn't see a majority of people-let alone musicians-lug one around as if it was their personal wallet/purse. Phablets aren't practical for score reading either, and I know I am not planning to go for a tablet just because it's somehow popular among some circles.

-"Western" music conservatism is strong-I predict online scores "urtext" or otherwise) to fill a small-or "decent" sized at best-

niche among musicians, rather than it ever becoming the norm (think about newspapers and magazines, which are atill printed to this day, even though some have understandably had economical losses in the last few years due to technological trends.)

I also personally believe that physical scores are easier to annotate and study-just theoretically more "cumbersome", which would be their supposed "con", so to speak. As for me, I just love carrying sheet music scores around-being close to them somehow keeps me inspired and thinking about more music to keep learning and absorbing.

No old school vs new here, nor do I want to be a contrarian-just don't believe we'll see the full demise of the printed music press any time soon (granted, OP never claimed as much.) I would, however, urge all performers to buy the printed score whenever possible, so as to keep supporting that kind of business, which regardless of "the future", hasn't been thriving for a while.

January 27, 2016 at 12:00 AM · Some orchestras just buy the whole set of tablets.

January 27, 2016 at 12:44 AM · Baerenreiter has had their scores available in an app for a while, as well. Not cheap, though.

January 27, 2016 at 12:51 AM · Greetings,

computers make me tired within a very shiort space of time. Under no circumstances would i sit on stage with an orchestra of 80 players all using electronic appliances, no matter how sexy. so I will stay with paper;)

Notice also that some of the esential ingredients of apple products and others are being mined by underage kiddies in impoverished countries. Perhaps musicians have some responsibilty to consider this kind of issue as well as all the obviusly extremely conveneinet and time saving aspects?

Cheers,

Buri

January 27, 2016 at 04:04 AM · Agreed Buri. And I hope that we boycott music written by child labor as well (Mozart, Mendelssohn etc) :)

January 27, 2016 at 06:08 AM · been boycotting them for years. Im still alive.....;)

January 27, 2016 at 07:05 AM · Sacrilege!!! Why don't we just ditch our old, acoustic instruments and get the orchestra to replace them all with the new Yamaha electric silent fiddle?!! Even better, let's just make our lives a lot easier and replace the entire violin section with a synth!!!

January 27, 2016 at 07:58 AM · According to the article, you can adjust stave size and add or remove other chamber music lines and load alternate fingerings. Good luck doing that with paper scores. Also, with AirTurn or something similar, page turning can be done with your foot.

The comparison with instruments, if not meant to be sarcastic, is a bit off. Whether the music is engraved on a stone wall or printed on a handkerchief, the performance of it is the same. But changing from acoustic to electric affects the actual performance.

January 27, 2016 at 08:59 AM · Greetings,

I dont know to what xtent the subject has been researched but there do seem to be people around now who can shed light on my point concerning the difference in effect on the player. First of all I believe there is now discussion in academic circles about an apparent difference in retention been studying done from a book vs a tablet. Is that germane to reading music, i dont know. But if we read books differently then that at least suggests that reading ,usic from an ipad may not be such a simple transfer of medium. My other point concerns anecdital evidence of my own. If I use an ipad before going to bed I have trouble sleeping. If i read a book I relax and sleep easily. I know other people who experience the same thing and also a nmber of healers who maintuain that one should not even have ths kind of device in the room when one is asleep. Thus, i tentaively put forward the idea that we may actually be creating a diffrnet kind of experienice and that as such a little caution might also be a good thing.

Cheers

Buri

January 27, 2016 at 01:04 PM · Every week I play in a band for folk dancers. Most in the band read the music from digital tablets, a couple use sheet music that they've compiled, and I and one or two others play it from memory, which advantageously means we watch the dancers and can respond immediately to signals from the caller. Incidentally, playing such music from memory is no big deal.

January 27, 2016 at 01:46 PM · Buri, there is masses of scientific evidence to support everything you are saying (except, as you point out, the effect of reading/learning music from a tablet, which as far as I'm aware is still unknown/uninvestigated). The effect on sleep is due to the 'blue light' emitted by these devices as well as the radiation.

As I am severely affected by wifi (without which an ipad, for instance, will not function in a network) I would be unable to participate in any group or orchestra which routinely used these devices, even if I had the playing ability. I know I am not alone. The effect on concentration, memory and learning might have some interesting consequences for orchestral playing, especially in big, complex pieces, and rehearsals.

If these problems could be solved then I would agree with all the positive comments about convenience, durability etc. All these suggestions are technically feasible (and were discussed in a similar thread some time ago).

January 27, 2016 at 02:32 PM · Those of us who use computers all day in our work -- many of us anyway -- really don't want to be looking at yet another screen. Part of the enjoyment of the violin comes from the fact that it's an unplugged experience.

These things ebb and flow. While tablets in musical performance is a genie that's out of the bottle, and therefore will never go away completely, I think ultimately most orchestras will stay with paper. I think that's partly because the audience, too, is clamoring for an experience that has an unplugged look and feel. Does anyone know whether audiences of orchestras using tablets have complained to management about it?

As for being "sensitive to wifi," that's an interesting observation Peter. Of course I won't presume to minimize your experiences, and I'm sorry you have to deal with that. But it makes me wonder if the devices that give you the strongest symptoms are actually functioning properly (i.e., within FCC guidelines) or if they are possibly emitting some low-level noise that is the actual source of the problem, as can be the case with fluorescent lighting.

January 27, 2016 at 03:06 PM ·

January 27, 2016 at 03:16 PM · The effect of "blue light" from digital devices on sleeping patterns is an interesting topic. On my desktop I have a free app "f.lux" by https://justgetflux.com which changes a display's color temperature according to location and time of day. I have set it up to change from a daylight color temperature of 6500K to 3000K at sundown. The effect is that my desktop screen will have an attractive warmer and less blue look in 30 minutes from now (as I write).

F.lux is available for most systems (Windows, Mac, Linux), but because of proprietary restrictions by Apple it is not available for an iOS device (unless the device has been jail-broken!). However, iOS enables my iPad to change its brightness according to the ambient lighting.

January 27, 2016 at 04:04 PM · It's not the blue light. It's the subliminal apocalyptic messages hidden in all those shifting pixels...

January 27, 2016 at 04:07 PM · Just wear blue-light and UV-blocking goggles or glasses.

January 27, 2016 at 04:15 PM · Testing by computer has become more commonplace in our public schools, and a surprisingly high number of children have difficulties with the blue glow of the screen. Filtering glasses are available for that purpose. It's a thing. If you also need prescription glasses for reading, etc., then the problem is compounded.

January 27, 2016 at 04:53 PM ·

January 27, 2016 at 06:27 PM · Hi Peter,

I belive there are now one or two reputable studies which have shown lower retention from reDing using an ipad as opposed to paper. Unfortunately I only saw discussion of them rather than the papers themselves. I seem to recall they were done in Sweden so perhaps it has soemthing to with Mattias' mother' s meatball recipe as well.

Cheers,

buri

January 27, 2016 at 06:49 PM · Turn off wifi and notification when practising with iPad. Like airplane mode.

January 27, 2016 at 07:29 PM · The fingering switching thing is theoretically useful (I believe checking what other great players choose to do is very interesting, even if you don't fully adopt their fingerings), but really, "ancient" tools such as pencil and eraser can achieve this alternate fingerings "feature" quite easily, granted that you have access to said fingerings (I believe the main advantage of "digi-Henle" would be access to these, but I doubt they will warrant 5-6 different fingering editors for most of their output.)

This is very nice for tablet users, if they like that sort of thing. For their eye sight's sake, they better be big tablets, though.

A real life experience that I didn't enjoy-I was playing once at an organization that used to provide scores, but started to just offer links to the scores online. This was not just a mild annoyance, because it either pretended we would be "modernized" with tablets, or that we spent printer ink on them. Which brings me back to my initial thoughts-let's keep supporting the printed music press, because we are not yet ready to force this digital process on all of our musicians.

To be honest, a great edition or score (subjectively) looks, feels, and "plays" better for me. I love looking at some of my Editions-I use my phablet for MANY things-even Metronome duties at times-just not reading sheet music (have downloaded legally available scores to compare out of print fingerings and bowings, and that's it.)

In short, I don't condemn this new digital score tech, as it has some benefits for tablet users, but would wish for us to buy more physical score copies when we are able to. They are still worth it (at least many of them are), IMHO.

January 27, 2016 at 09:26 PM · I like my metronome loud so I play the tablet through headphones or Bluetooth it to the home entertainment system.

Jenny, I bet one of your students could figure out the settings on your iPad in a New York minute.

January 28, 2016 at 04:16 AM · Of course Buri didn't read the report. It was an electronic report...

January 28, 2016 at 05:18 AM · I read it but didn't retain anything. I look forward to the paper version....

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