Creating Music Notation on an iPad

NotionLogoSymphonyProV3Currently there are several music notation apps for the iPad – Notion for iPad and SymphonyPro along with Sonja. My friend did a blog post about Sonja the other night and you should read it here. Then of course there is Noteflight which is not really an app but it runs inside a web browser. The top contenders being Notion and Noteflight.

I have to say that Symphony Pro actually works now (well kind of)! I tried the app again tonight, after several updates lately. The app is now useable at least – in other words it actually launches and when using a MIDI keyboard to input notes the correct notes appear!

Tonight I was inspired by the YouTube video from the MIDImorphosis people inputting music notation from their guitars! I wanted to try with my MIDI keyboard. Both Notion and SymphonyPro worked pretty well! Those were the only two apps I tried and then I needed sleep! I hooked the keyboard up, set the score up, hit record and started playing. I started out simple and then increased the number of notes I was playing. I ended up with a reasonable rendition of what I played. As is the case even on full featured apps like Sibelius and Finale, there is editing that has to be done after inputting notes live with a MIDI keyboard.

The editing is what is going to take anyone a bit of time to figure out what to do on any app. There are still frustrations while editing the scores in both apps – SP had an absurd number of ties show up for no reason. Notion stopped recording even though I wasn’t done yet! Things like that are frustrating but easily dealt with.

My thoughts on the two apps…. a week ago I would have said to stay away from SymphonyPro – Like I said, the app works now though. SymphonyPro has not had a good track record though – lots of bugs and non-working versions released to the public. The app even disappeared from existence a while back and then it was resurrected.  Am I confidant that this app will continue to be developed? No. The benefit, for now, is that this app costs $10 (as of 8-9-2013) and doesn’t take a gigabyte of space on your iPad like Notion does!

Notion on the other hand is going to be around for awhile! Notion has a desktop version as well. Notion takes a ton of space on your iPad because this company has spent considerable time and money recording the London Symphony Orchestra to get the sounds that are incorporated in the app! What does that mean? It means your score is going to sound great! It also means someone is serious about the app! Notion only costs $15 (as of 8-9-2013) but if you are talking about a classroom set of iPad that could add up. OF course at that discussion I might lead you towards NoteFlight which has a free option!

Compared to having to spend the hundreds of dollars to get music notation apps into the hands of my music students a few years ago the possibilities these days are exciting! It’s a no brainer – not to mention a major part of National and State Fine Arts Standards for Music Education!

Anyways… enough ramblings… here is my trial work – proof that this works! I did have to edit almost every single whole note – it was always notated as a shorter value and a rest afterwards. I didn’t do much else though.

SymphonyPro Example

Notion Example


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