Apps to read music on an iPad

Over at Technology in Music website there is a good article about two music apps for reading music on an iPad. These are two apps I have tried. Go read the article to see what he has to say over there.

Here are my thoughts on the situation:

I have loaded both of these apps on my iPad and actually prefer to not use them! Now don’t get me wrong, I think both apps mentioned have great potential. I agree with everything said in the review. I like how the MusicReader allows half page turns! I could have used that feature the other day when sightreading the accompaniment for the choir performance!

The biggest issue with both programs right now is accessibility to my files! – When I want to get a song onto my iPad to use it HAS to be quick and easy! If I use MusicReader I have to have their (expensive) program in addition to everything else I own. If I use Forscore I have to load up iTunes.

I am using GoodReader right now because it allows me to get my music onto my iPad in several ways – 1)email the a pdf to my iPad, 2) put a PDF into my DropBox (which is where it is ANYWAYS!) or 3) even create a wifi network between my laptop and iPad. This accessibility feature is a hugh feature that  takes me away from the “music” programs right now.

There are several other features that I have found that are important as well. For instance, as a conductor who will be reading scores for band that may have a lot of information on them, I also like the fact that in GoodReader I can enlarge the music quickly to better see the music. Both ForScore and MusicReader will let me turn the iPad and it will automatically increase the size of the music to portrait or landscape mode. I at times to dig in even further though.

The bad news is that GoodReader is not doing everything I want it to do. I want to be able to write on my music! Yes, I know that MuasicReader allows me to highlight and write on the score.

So that brought about me purchasing  SmartNote. This app does allow me to write, highlight, put little “stamps” on the score and several other neat features! The abilities in SmartNote for writing on the music is very cool! SmartNote does not allow easy access to ALL my music/PDF files though. It also does not allow me to zoom in and out.

Right now I am making things work and anxiously waiting for when one program that does it all!

6 thoughts on “Apps to read music on an iPad

  1. I wanted to check in about SmartNote. The only app I can find by that name is an iPhone/iPod Touch App. Can you verify the name of that other app? Thanks for writing your blog!

  2. That is interesting…. I looked in the store tonight and could not find it either. There is a note on their website about why.
    I notice that I did not mention a huge complaint that I have about SmartNote. It is not too hard to load files into SmartNote but in order to access those files (PDF’s in my case) you have to create a notebook to put the pdf into. It appears that you have to do a separate notebook for every pdf. It is a hassle.
    I also should mention that this program has the capabilities to record audio into a notebook. I have not tested this feature – BUT how cool would it be to record my band rehearsal, into the notebook, for review later?

  3. Have you looked at GoodReader lately? It appears to support annotation now.

    I’m looking to view PDF files while playing my ukulele and I found your article useful and informative. I’m wondering if you have any updated experiences to share.

    1. Tara,

      After looking at the date on this post I had to laugh. It is a LLOOOOONNNGG time ago.

      The program that I have been using the most for my music is non of the mentioned ones I wrote about back then. I am using unrealBook now.
      I love this program. The developer is a performing musician and has focused on adding details that musicians need and want. Things like being able to annotate, click on a repeat sign and have the music jump back to the appropriate page, links to be able to play mp3 files and dropbox integration.

      The apps have changed rapidly through the past year. If you dig around on my blog and the one mentioned above you will find lots of more up-todate info. If you are looking for an app to use with your iPad for reading music (PDF files) then I would look at unrealBook or ForScore.

  4. I just finished performing 5 concerts using ForScore and the AirTurn pedal. I agree that the perfect app doesn’t exist yet, but ForScore worked well. It does annotation and you can back up annotated PDFs so you don’t lose fingerings, etc. What I really need is a stylus pen with a sharp enough point to really make annotations. Anyone?

  5. Five concerts is a good way to find if an app is going to work! I had been using unrealbook and I tried forscore this last concert. Each app does things a little different. I did like the half page turn though!
    As for a stylus, I did not like the. Pogo stylus tip at all and it sure didn’t fare well after going through the wash in my pants pocket! I’m not seeing any with a small tip though to answer your question! I think the secret is to zoom in while annotating. This let’s you draw small enough it looks good!

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