Getting Music onto my iPad

Tonight I went through my scores for the upcoming concerts. I REALLY wanted to get rid of the paper scores. The problem I ran into this time through was the resulting file size. If I would have been smart I probably can reset the settings in my scanning software. Since I just used the presets that were already there, I ended up with scores that were 45 mb and 51 mb’s in size. Those were huge! I loaded them onto the iPad. They worked but the page redraws with this size of file, in GoodReader, were slower than what I wanted! The transfer from my iMac onto DropBox and to my iPad was fast though. I’m becoming less and less leery of wireless data transfers!

After some research on the web I came up with a good solution. Considering the time I had spent scanning these scores in already, which my wife wasn’t too happy about because our scanner at home is hooked up to her computer, I did not want to rescan the scores. Follow the directions in this link if you are on a Mac. If you are on a PC the basic translation is that this process uses jpg compression set in a manner that does not result in bad quality but does result in smaller file size. From 51 mb’s down to 3.5 mb’s. I think that is rather significant. You can notice a difference in the quality but at least I can turn the pages now without waiting for the screen to draw the image.

I have been printing scores out from Sibelius as PDF files and those scores are all under 200 KB. AND they are very nice and crisp looking!

What has been your process to get music scores onto your iPad?

2 thoughts on “Getting Music onto my iPad

  1. I’ve decided to go with ForScore, which also utilizes PDF files.

    I work mainly with choral octavos, which are smaller than band literature. So I copy each page at 105%, then scan with our Ricoh copiers at school. So far, scanning at 600 dpi and black and white line art settings works best.

    Then I also save the files to Dropbox, open my MacBook, plug in the iPad, and drop in the PDFs to ForScore under the Apps category of the iPad’s section on iTunes.

    On a side note, Finale exports as PDF files quite nicely as well.

  2. I’ve already got thousands of scans/photos in tiff, png, pdf and jpg that I’ve collected over the years. In the five years I used the MusicPad Pro, they all got converted to .fh, but at least I saved the originals. When my MusicPad got stolen six months ago and I knew the iPad was on the horizon, I broke the hinge on an old iBook G4 so it would fold out 180 degrees and rotated the display so the thing could be used in portrait mode on a piano. Then I started converting all my existing scans into pdf documents so I could use them in Preview.

    Now I’m on the iPad. Like you, I’m using the GoodReader/Dropbox method as opposed to ForScore or MusicReader. It would be nice to make notations on the files, but the important things for me are being able to create playlists. I wasn’t crazy about MusicReader (which I ran for it’s full trial period) because I didn’t want to deal with proprietary formats again.

    The only things lacking (for me) in GoodReader are

    1) the ability to create Table of Contents entries; like most digital musicians, I’ve got massive big Real/Fake Book collection, but without a TOC, it’s just endless scrolling to find the tune you want. Sure, you can create a TOC in Acrobat or even PdfPen Pro (Mac, not iPad) but it’d would be more helpful to do it on the fly during a gig.

    2) I know GoodReader can do links, but I’d like something that was as quick to use as the Transporter function that MusicPad Manager had, wherein you just create a Transporter “square” on the page you want and then add the link to wherever (as long as it was in the same file)

    3) I’ve pretty much left the flatbed scanner world behind. I’ve gotten good results in the past with iPhone Camera ->Graphic Converter -> Pdf -> PdfPen Pro. Now I’m looking for something even MORE simple. I’ve just downloaded JotNot on iPhone, which allows you to tweak the photo, save as pdf and send to DropBox. I’m getting mixed results so far with the built-in presets. The files end up about 500kb per page, but a bit more blurry than I’d like.

    There’s still ScanR, Scanner Pro, Document Scanner, Pocket Scanner, etc to check out. I’m convinced the process can be trimmed down to iPhone click, process, send to DropBox, (unknown TOC entry app) and open in GoodReader.

    That’s way too much for now. Thanks for listening

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