Going Digital: Which iPad sheet music apps / page turners are everyone using these days?

February 4, 2021, 8:26 PM · Hello!

I am finally taking the digital plunge and wondering which sheet music apps, Bluetooth page-turners the majority of you are using on your iPads these days?

I've done a bit of research and have been finding that most everyone is using an iPad or iPad pro. Also, "ForScore" seems to be quite a popular app but I would love to hear your suggestions/experiences, pros/cons on the subject.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations! :)

Replies (20)

February 5, 2021, 4:06 AM · When I play the piano I use an app called Piascore. I don't use any page-turning feature, although I think it had for some time that option for free until they decided to make it a premium feature. In any case I think it lets you adjust the speed at which the music advances. The app is simple, although good in my opinion.

Also, as a curiosity, I've been trying this week the app Nkoda. It's a subscription streaming service for music sheets and I've enjoyed it. It has very good editions (Bärenreiter, Breiktopf&Hartel, etc) and it runs smoothly. I won't be using it in the near future since it's not what I need at the moment, but I think it can be useful for many people.

Edited: February 5, 2021, 6:32 AM · I'm just going to say that I've been using digital practice journals for a while and found none of them met my needs. I can give an absolutely shameless plug for my own work at https://pracso.com/ but I'll also say that if you're looking for digital practice journals there are great options with Andante, Modacity, Practizma and more. Can recommend more if you're interested. I know the founder of Andante is on this forum and may be helpful.
Edited: February 5, 2021, 4:31 PM ·
IPad pro 12,9
Forescore
Pageflip firefly

Everything smooth and well organized.

Edit:
Agree, the Pencil is a must-have.
I'm contemplating about a smaller page turner.

February 5, 2021, 2:48 PM · Make sure to get the iPad with the pencil.
February 5, 2021, 4:04 PM · I've got a 12.9" iPad Pro + Apple Pencil 2 + PageFlip Butterly.
I use ForScore.
February 6, 2021, 11:35 AM · Could anyone here share their experience with ScanScore, BTW?
February 7, 2021, 8:03 AM · eschew all this digital nonsense if you want to be part of the real world.
Edited: February 7, 2021, 9:30 AM · For me, all this digital nonsense is a great tool to having my stuff well organized and having more time for being part of the real world, instead of diving through stacks of books and loose sheets of music. And that way, I can carry all my music (at least the music I needed during the last two years) with me.
But yes, there is a price to pay. I now always have to keep in mind that I shouldn't run out of energy. On important occasions, you really should carry a power bank with you. The iPad lasts at least 8 hours, but sometimes one forgets to charge in time. And, an iPad isn't bendable, and therefore hard to fit into most violin case pockets...

I still do enjoy a lot the high quality print editions e.g. from Baerenreiter, Urtext, Henle, Breitkopf & Haertel, Peters etc., and like you I've been reluctant to go digital for quite a long time. But I also enjoy not to worry anymore about...
... loosing my actual sheet music in all that sheet music. I'm only a lousy amateur, but for violin, viola and piano it's still more than three meters that accumulated during the years.
... finding new storage for my growing collection of sheet music.
... showing up at a lesson, rehearsal, reading session without exactly the piece I needed.
... how to place my markings in a way that could be easily erased or changed, in case I'll run over a better solution.
... whether it really is an acid free, hydrophobic tape I'm tucking my loose sheets together. This isn't an issue now, but definitely it will be in ten years.
... how to share sheet music with someone else, and whether these copies of copies of copies will still be readable.
... and for sure a number of things I haven't thought about yet.

If one doesn't feel the need to switch, then lucky him. But it's no sacrilege to do so.

February 7, 2021, 10:00 AM · forscore, the big ipad pro, the cheap pageflip pedal. I've found that the real world comes with gusty winds and bad page turns and sometimes the digital solution is the easiest.
February 7, 2021, 10:36 AM · Irene, I knew I forgot something!
Edited: February 7, 2021, 9:36 PM · Both my kids have the same setup that Lydia has. Very good all around. In 2 or 3 years they had only one case where my pianist son lost bluetooth sync for an important audition performance, but he adapted quickly and turned pages with a finger swipe, much faster than turning actual pages.

Some other benefits not mentioned yet - tether to phone and directly connect to IMSLP or air drop from someone, to download in a pinch i.e. never be without music again. Effortlessly play chamber music from the score because managing the page turns is not an issue.

Buy a good cheap scanner if you don't have one yet so you can transfer from your paper copies. Surprisingly inexpensive, e.g. Epson.

Do keep the screw tightened on your stand. 12.9" iPad is heavy enough that it can turn the stand and fall off otherwise.

February 7, 2021, 12:48 PM · The volume of my sheet music has gotten ridiculous (about 20 cubic feet and still growing)!
If I thought I had another 20 years or more of reasonable playing ahead of me I would definitely go "pad-elex.pencil-Page.flip" - no question about it! The man who has been playing 1st in two of my current groups (as well as 2 or 3 others) went that way starting 4 years ago. But he is 20 years younger than I am.
February 8, 2021, 1:12 AM · Thank you all so very much for your help! I've held Sylvan's POV for some years, but a studio FULL of sheet music (some well organized, some scattered) - and the ability to be able to carry it ALL around with me wherever I go has me wanting to give it a shot. The wind is another great reason, thanks Irene!

The page-turner sounds like a real convenience as well particularly for the "four pages taped together" job that never really wants to stay put on my music stand.

I'm still interested in hearing more opinions so please feel free to add your favorites.

:)

Sky

February 8, 2021, 1:32 AM · Skyko, not only those complex 4 (5,6,7 - depending on one's individual grade if origami masochism) page constructions. In contrast to a book, a tablet always stays open. Always.
February 8, 2021, 12:57 PM · What are you scanning your music with? I'm mostly using the Scannable app directly from the iPad.
February 10, 2021, 12:40 AM · @Nuuska I have a printer that scans, but I have heard of an iPhone/iPad app that turns pics into .pdf's. I am guessing that is what you have? Scannable... I will look into it, thank you for recommending it!
February 10, 2021, 8:59 AM · Up to a certain extent, Scannable also flattens the pages which comes very handy when scanning from books and you don't want to break the book's spine. It also does some cleanup with the shadows, and contrast enhancement. If you don't have a staple of loose sheets but a book to scan, it works much faster than a flat bed scanner. The results are not perfect, but they aren't from a scanner either...
February 10, 2021, 9:15 PM · I use the TurboScan Pro app on iOS to rapidly convert physical pages to PDF.

Have been conducting and performing on an iPad Pro 12.9 since 2018, and have not had any issues.

March 4, 2021, 8:43 PM · A couple of random additions to the thread.

-- Ipad Pro 12.9, ForScore and the PageFlip Butterfly are pretty close to an industry standard now. You don't have to have a new model Ipad -- the 1st generation Ipad Pros (around $400 on Ebay) have plenty of processing power to do the job.

-- Not everybody knows this but one of the nicest features of ForScore is half-page turns. You can electronically turn just the top half of the page -- which allows much smoother transitions at the end of pages.

-- You can also save money by not buying the pricey Apple Pencil. There are pretty decent knockoff pencils on Amazon as cheap as $15. Search for "active stylus pen ipad" and you'll see possibilities. I have found the $15 one to work just fine.

-- Scanning parts -- there's really no need for a flatbed scanner any more. Newer Iphones (any of the X and newer models) have cameras that are so good they can scan sheet music remarkably well in a lot of different light conditions.

-- I've been very happy with a free scanning app called "mini scanner" - once you get the hang of it you can phone-scan a 10 page part in just a few minutes.

-- Another interesting product, Play Score 2, not only scans music from your phone but interprets the notes and can actually play the part for you (could be useful for people who are still learning to read music). Play Score 2 can also export the scan as a MIDI file or Music XML, which allows you to import into composing software like Muse Score and edit the part.

An example of how this is useful: Viola players sometimes encounter parts that needlessly jump back and forth between alto clef and treble clef. You can scan your part into Muse Score and actually fix the cleffing -- and then either print overlays for your music or reprint entire pages.

Play Score 2 isn't perfect and you sometimes have to clean up the scan, but it's really good and a lot faster than hand-entering the notes into Muse Score.

-- Finally, a plug for the Henle Library, which is Henle Verlag's product for tablets. You can buy individual parts through this app much less expensively than buying sets of parts in paper.

For me the coolest thing is that Henle is uploading fingerings from prominent violinists/violists and with many cases you have 5-6 fingerings to compare. When you've got a tough passage it's great to see how some great musicians addressed the problems.

March 5, 2021, 1:47 AM · I do not mind that others use digital content, except that it may make it the norm for others. Hopefully people are not forced to purchase tablets to play in orchestras, be it local or pro. I have never owned a tablet and still see no practical purpose for them, other than fitting in with a modern trend. Tablets have been around for a long time now, and I still do not find them a vital day-to-day tool (as opposed to our smartphones.)

Do note that I am not anti-tech, as much as my words above hint at that being the case. I love technology and Android phones. I just never saw a need for tablets-smartphones, "phablets", phones with stylus, touch convertible laptops are fine, but I have no love or use for strict tablets. Smartphones cover those bases except for the size. I can still use and annotate my sheet music with pencil and eraser, and also love having and handling new editions with my own fingers, sniffing the paper, appreciating covers, and reading editor and scholarly notes within the sheet music phamplet.

I also do not stream music, preferring to transfer my own recordings to digital format for portable music player (my smartphone) use. Love headphone technology and amps, but not this trend of going all digital and using the "cloud" for everything.

I was never an Apple system user or super fan, so I suppose that made me never jump into the tablet bandwagon. When MS and most other PC and smartphone brands joined the Apple train, I just saw these as super weak PCs or smart devices lacking the technical depth of an actual computer, or the versatility of a great smartphone. I rather have a good notebook PC and a good smartphone than the very compromised hybrid that tablets are, in my humble estimation.

Please take no offense, however. I am not better than you all just because I refuse to use tablets. But also understand why I would not like for it to become the norm for the "non conforming" musician. Tech is fine and lovely, but I do not need all of it to be happy.

Enjoy your technological wonders, and happy practicing to all.


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