Performing with Todays Technology – Multi-Tracks and Loops

In the process of looking for new music to listen to and to perform I’ve run across and excellent CD created by a new worship band/church I’ve never listened to before. The really interesting thing is that they offer backing tracks. It’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve looked for these backing tracks and boy has the process changed.

River Valley Edge of WorshipThe CD is Edge of Heaven and it is by River Valley Worship. River Valley has all the chord charts to their songs available for free on their website linked above! THANK YOU!

The service they use for loops and backing tracks is through MultiTracks.com

Playback IconThat is linked to an app called Playback

The app has a free preview track per week inside of it. I’d suggest that if you’ve never experienced this to go download the app and that one free track! It’s something else!

I’m also very interested in knowing who out there is using this service, to what extent and how you like it! Leave me comments below.

Here is the iTunes Description:

Description

Playback is an iOS App created by MultiTracks.com that turns your iPad or iPhone into a simple, yet powerful MultiTrack player for all of your Original Master MultiTracks and CustomMix® content. Playback comes with a library of ClickTracks and we always give you access to a free song each week that we call the “Play of the Week” so you can try out the app right away! Playback has 3 Subscriptions: Intro (Free), as well as Pro and Premium (30 Day Free Trial).

***Please Note*** Because of the access given to Original Artist Master MultiTracks through our free “Play of the Week,” account registration is required for every account to verify your identity and insure compliance with Terms of Use.

INTRO SUBSCRIPTION

• Playback all the parts within a MultiTrack or load only those you need.
• Access to import all your tracks from MultiTracks.com and MultiTracks Cloud™
• Free ClickTracks in multiple time signatures
• Free “Play of the Week” every week in the app
• Adjust Start Time and End Time of each song
• Visible Waveform Display with Grid Overlay
• Auto-fade your tracks while click continues
• Create a Playlist and “AutoLink” songs together
• Songs subdivided into “Song Sections”
• Solo and Mute functionality on every channel
• AutoPan your ClickTracks left and MultiTracks right
• Press and Hold a Song in “Edit Mode” to reorder within Setlist
Free – All Intro features are completely free.

Playback Screen2.png

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Kaspar Released (No, not Casper the ghost so relax! and make music!)

Kaspar IconKaspar – $9.99 (for now)

Kaspar is an outstanding new synth from Yonac that will get you inspired to start making some music and start fanning that creative spark inside of you that you’ve let die out a bit through the last six months!

This app, like many new releases is on a limited time intro price. I’m not sure for how long but I do know the app was released July 20, 2017 so…

What is really cool about this app is embodied right in the description on Yonacs website – “Multi-Engine AutoMorphing Supersynthesizer”

8 fully featured polyphonic synths with the ability to layer, modulate and morph between each! See the XY pad below – yeah… that’s the morphing, modulation goodness of the app at work just to warm your heart with delightful sounds!

Yonac 1.png

Do you REALLY need to know more?

This IS one of those apps that comes fully equipped with built in presets for your extensive musical explorations. It is ALSO one of those apps that you could spend a TON of time in just messing around building and designing your own sounds!

I WILL say that if you don’t like the color yellow then don’t buy the app because they USED ALL the yellow paint the paint store had in stock when building the app!

Here is a video to get you even more interested!

 

Be a User – Embrace new Tech! Discover the Joys Waiting For YOU!

MacBook TBarProgress and improvements in capabilities are expected in technology. In fact, I’ve told my own kids – “Buy the best tech you can afford/need at the best price you can find then don’t look back!” Soon a newer and shinier and faster and more capable thing will appear. It is the way it is.

Once you do make the decision to make a tech purchase though it really can be a huge event that changes your entire look out on what you can achieve.

Here is the most important thing I want you to take away from this blog post – read this much at least!

New technology can bring you a fresh outlook on the use of technology. Trying to continue to use the old tech can make you frustrated! When you KNOW what is possible but you don’t have access to those tools has the potential to make a person frustrated.

So…. dive in and talk to people that are using the new tech. Ask the important questions like can this really benefit me? Can this really make my life better? Can this really open up new possibilities? Is the new tech really going to actually be a game changer?

Then make the purchase.

Then…. become a user! Use the heck out of it! Ask people that know more than you for tips and trick! Read blogs, subscribe to twitter users, watch some YouTube videos. Actually become aware of just how the new technology can be used and what it can do for you!

BE A USER!

Game Changing Tech

The new MacBook Pro with the TouchBar and the 12.9 iPad Pro are some of those game changers. Let me start with sharing my impressions of the MacBook…

  • This thing is fast – so freaky fast I have to believe that Jimmy Johns had something to do with the creation of this thing. (Jimmy Johns…. don’t get it?  …. go google it)
  • Spotlight is freak fast too!
  • Having the ability to unlock the computer using the fingerprint sensor is cool.
  • Having the ability to unlock the computer through an AppleWatch is Amazing!
  • The TouchBar is a very handy way to work I HATE taking my hands off the keyboard while working on the laptop. The TouchBar gives me one more way to keep my hands on the keys, in addition to the the hundreds of keyboard shortcut that I use all the time. I love the fact that it SO much more useful than those Fn keys!
  • The keyboard has remarkably changed since 2010! I had not realized how tactile I had become in my typing until I tried typing on the new keyboard.
  • SIRI on my laptop totally rocks! Not sure exactly how many ways I can utilize it but I’m trying it every chance I get!
  • AirDrop is a game changer for those that have an iPhone/iPad and frequently start a project on those devices then change over to work on their laptops. Don’t worry DropBox and Box – you will still be used, just not nearly as critical now.
  • AirPlay has always been awesome from my iPad during class time. Now my laptop does the same! At home it is really sweet to be able to AirPlay over to the TV.
  • The fact that I have to buy a $40 dongle just to print at school is frustrating as all get out. BUT, is this Apple’s issue or my tech department? They will not open up the wireless network to allow printing. COME ON GUYS GET WITH THE TIMES!
  • Dongles are now in my bag for ethernet and USB. Soon I will need two more – an USB-c to Thunderbolt and then a Thunderbolt 2 to Firewire. This will allow me to record via my 32 channel PreSonus mixer. Annoying and expensive but props to Apple for making sure that there is still a solution that “just works”.
  • It is LOUD!
  • It is lighter and skinnier. Those few ounces make a difference. My backpack is noticeably lighter now!
  • This trackPad with force touch is crazy! It is also HUGE.

 

Apple PencilNow, the iPadPro. I have now worked with the 12.9 inch iPad since last year. I have not written about it much here but here are some thoughts…

  • Every single music teacher should be given one of these by their school district. It should be a gift to the teacher upon day one of their hire!
  • The Apple Pencil is very cool. Use that pencil with music notation or use it with an app like GoodNote that recognizes your handwriting and you will be astounded.
  • It is BIG
  • It is LOUD – In fact I don’t always hook up speakers during class time when I want to play something quickly for the kids. Most days the sound system is hooked up and ready to go nut when it isn’t I simply turn the iPad up and hit play. Not a single kid has complained about “not hearing”.
  • More complex scores like my High School band scores are totally readable on this thing.
  • There is SO much more screen real estate that when using it as a musical instrument I don’t feel cramped. I do have big hands and this was an issue with the smaller iPads.
  • The screen is beautiful – I love having my photos on this device! I love showing those photos to others because it is just such and amazing experience!
  • I do still like using a bluetooth keyboard with it. I refuse to get Apple’s though. I don’t want the extra weight on it. It’s big but by itself I don’t mind the weight. With ANY of the available keyboards that are cases it becomes a huge nuisance though. I simply bought a Logitech keyboard and leave it sitting on my desk. When I am out and about I use the on screen keyboard and never really too much about it.
  • Oh… and using this thing as a music production studio simply rocks!

RoadBlocks

I do fully understand why some people get freaked out when they are first adapting to new technology. This keyboard on the MacBook is messing with my brain. After a week with it though I am retraining myself and getting along just fine. There is a learning curve though upon getting new tech – Please don’t let that stop you from jumping in and getting new tech! Take it one thing at a time though – even I have felt overwhelmed and have to remind myself that I can only do/learn so much at a time. So pick one or two things and go for it!

 

Last Thought

Yes, tech will fail you. My electronic ensemble had a performance last night and I could not get the microphones to work! Still haven’t figured it out – it’s driving me nuts. HAVE A BACK UP PLAN (Part of that back up plan is to NOT become so frustrated you give up)

I’ve walked out of my office two or three times every day this week with a big ol grin on my face and my daughter just looks at me and shakes her head because she knows it is a result of being a user of new tech.

BUT, now My Daughter has the same look on her face and is now digging in to using my old laptop, which to her is brand new! She is doing projects that she could never have done before. Those projects will be a very visible part of the senior graduation and awards programs. When I look at her face I will see “that look” and I will knowingly smile because I will know what that look is from.

BE A USER!

MusicJot – a Handwritten Music Notation on iPad

MusicJotIcon.pngIn January 2017 the Music Notation iOS app world grew. MusicJot by Mona Lisa Sound was one of those apps that actually has been released that works well. In January I did discover that there is another Music notation app being developed as well but that app is still in beta. I do find it very interesting that both of these music notation apps focus on using handwritten notation as a main method of input!

John Reed (an arranger, cellist, and programmer) and Mark Dalrymple (a software developer as well as an accomplished trombonist and bassoonist) are the two main guys behind the development of MusicJot. The fact that they are both musicians themselves and the fact that John is a for real arranger for a Grammy nominated string quartet that was trained at Juliard, gives this app some much needed credibility!

MusicJot currently is on the app store at a promotional pricing of $29.99

SO WHAT IS THE MAIN IDEA BEHIND MUSICJOT?

MusicJotHandWritingThe app store description gives the first few lines of description stating that MusicJot is a powerful music notation app that is easy to use by writing quickly and naturally on a staff.

My description… HandWriting music notation on an iPad is an amazing experience. Technology gets out of the way, there is no more trying to figure out how to do something like find the correct tool set to create that time signature or articulation or change from inputting quarter notes to eighth notes. Simply draw the music, with articulations and markings, and it is quickly digitized!

This means that as of March 2017 we now have the following for apps to HANDWRITE music notation on iOS:

  • MusicJot (Released Jan 2017) – ($29.99 promotional intro price)
  • Notion  – (Handwriting IAP released Nov 2015) – ($14.99 + $7.99 for handwriting IAP)
  • Touch Notation (Released Aug 2014) – ($8 version or also available as a limited Free Version called Touch Notation Free)
  • NotateMe (Released Sep 2013) – ($39.99 or also available as a limited Free Version called NotateMe Now)

Before 2013 ThinkMusic had started a KickStarter to bring the first app to market that gave us handwritten music notation on a tablet. That campaign blew our minds with the possibility of what was to come but alas, the Kickstarter was never fully funded. But out of that came the MyScript engine that now powers Notion handwriting as well as MusicJot!

WHAT DOES MUSICJOT OFFER THEN?

  • The ability to handwrite music on a staff and have it turn into digital notation.
  • Alternative palette-driven system for notes and music symbols. (You don’t have to hand write all the time.
  • De-clutter what you see on the screen by using layers.
  • The Virual-Pointer is a neat way to select interior chordal notes or notes that are just very close together. (Especially helpful when you do not have a stylus like the Apple Pencil)
  • Plus you can use the Virtual-Pointer to spot check and live audio scrub individual notes, chords or even the entire score.
  • Grouping of staffs – into groups like Woodwind section or Brass section
  • MusicJOT is completely customizable. From staff line weight to measure padding to beam angles to music spacing. Make your own house rules.
  • Batch note manipulations, such as transpositions and copy/paste with merge, append and replace.
  • Lyric support with automatic syllable flowing.

and of course many of the other standard features that you would expect from a music notation app.

There is of course the ability to export your music notation file as Music XML or MIDI. This becomes very important as many people may want to use MusicJot as a starting point, then import that file into Notion/Finale/Sibelius/Dorico on a desktop computer to finalize the project.

It is also helpful that MusicJOT has a 10 step tutorial and a context sensitive reference manual.

What can you hand notate? Well, I’m glad you’ve asked because I’ve got a screenshot to show you the many items MusicJot will recognize:

MusicJotRecognized.png

HIGHLIGHTS and SURPRISES I’VE FOUND

There are several really nice ways of working in MusicJot that I have found that I really appreciate. For instance, when I am running out of room while writing notes in a measure I can simply drag the barline over to make more room! I love being able to live audio scrub sections of my score which allows me to see if a certain chord/note/measure is correct without a complicated playback method involved. I also appreciate that I can, if I for some reason wanted to, put too many counts in a measure. This seems stupid until you think about the fact that as a music educator I do indeed want to demonstrate the “wrong” way sometimes! It is a bit tricky to figure out how make the Live-Audio-Scrubbing work but hey…. they have a built-in help feature so I figured it out! I also made you a picture 🙂

MusicJotLiveAudio.jpeg

WHAT DOESN’T MUSICJOT OFFER THEN?

While I fully believe in the ability to just simply write out music as if I was using paper I do believe that sometimes there are easier and faster methods of creating a music file. I would like to see a method for MIDI input form a keyboard.

The layout currently is a bit simplistic in some ways – of course this could easily be seen as a benefit by some. To me it just seems to lack a bit of polish. It’s like when I am quickly building a database and just want to get it working, knowing that later I will come back to add that polished look to it. The app doesn’t look bad, just a bit basic.

MusicJot is NOT an end to end solution in my eyes but then again I have NOT found that golden egg yet. The first problem is that there is not a desktop version of the app. The simple solution is to use XML to transfer to a desktop app. The problem is that I can not go back and forth between mobile and desktop in my continued work without constantly converting through XML which turns into a hassle!

MusicJot is NOT the quickest way to edit existing music in my eyes – If I need a part altered for whatever reason I will still be grabbing NotateMe with the PhotoScore plugin. This allows me to snap a pic of exiting printed music, make a few edits and then have my new changes. Neuratron has been the king of music scanning for years and that has not changed with the advent of iPad.

Coming soon will be features like Part Extraction and multiple voices per staff. Also those of you who want guitar tab and chord diagrams will have to wait. Percussionists will also have to wait.

THE FINAL CONCLUSION?

Handwriting music notation on an iPad using any of these apps mentioned here is simply a wonderful and amazing thing. Handwriting music notation if you have an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil is even more outstanding! I continue to convince music educators to spend a good deal of money in a matter of five minutes by simply demonstrating music notation apps to them.

MusicJot brings some welcome features to iPad for music creation. MusicJot has a some new twists and ideas that the other apps have not implemented yet.
UPDATE -THE $29 PRICE TAG IS GOING TO STICK AROUND AS THE PRICE INSTEAD OF BEING JUST AN INTRO PRICE!

With all this being said…. I think their idea of eventually raising the price to $50 is absurd considering the other options that are currently available at a lower cost. Leaving the price at $29 is quite possibly a decent price entrance. Compared to what is available on a windows tablet – StaffPad – $29 is an amazing price point. Compared to Notion on iPad with the handwriting IAP $29 is more.

Considering costs of desktop apps in the past $29 is a steal!

MusicJot works wonderfully and I look forward to the future development of the app! I appreciate the fact that the company gave me a promo code so that I could use and review the app here for you all to read about. Remember that links here on my website are affiliate links which when used by you to purchase apps I’ve reviewed, will give me 7% out of Apples profits while the developers continue to receive their full profits!

UPDATE

Check out the spot MusicJot achieved on the Apple App Store – in the featured section under Perfect With Apple Pencil!

VIDEO

VirSyn Releases a Great Sampling App for iOS

Yeah, if you are on top of all this news then this is a few days old!

BUT…

If you have been busy with things like Music Conferences for a bunch of music teachers that truly want to make a deep and lasting impact on their students lives then you may have missed this! 🙂

VirSyn has some amazing apps out already and now they have taken the best of several of those other apps and put them into an audio sampling app to add a nice new twist to the possibilities of music music making!

ReSlice – Audio Slice Machine for iPad and iPhone – $9.99 (an introductory price so grab it now!)

ReSlice Screen.png

THE IDEA – Record live or import audio from clipboard or AudioShare to break it up into its rhythmic components. Then you slice your audio samples with ReSlice and create flexible musical atoms which can be triggered by MIDI notes or the touch of your fingers.

THE BONUS – You then get to do things like use the polyrhythm Arpeggiator that redefines the art of creating new loops from the extracted slices. Apply the intelligent slice parameter and Arpeggio randomizer for instant creation of the unheard.

NOT SURE WHAT THIS MEANS? Watch this video then go get sampling and slicing!

Auxy for iPhone free! Tell your students to download this! (Teachers should too)

Auxy for iPhone is a great app that is very similar to Abelton Live – create and trigger a bunch of loops. 

Now…. For those of you iPad users who don’t usually download iPhone apps…. This app is one of the rare ones that look great on an iPad! So go get it!

Lots of built in sounds that are really sweet to listen to, some great EFX, an even sweeter method of adding transitions to the EFX for each loop and ease of use puts this app righ up there into the category of go to apps to create music with. For students and teachers alike this is going to be a ton of fun!


Moog Releases Another Outstanding Synth For Your iPad

If you have had ANY contact with the synth world you know immediately about the Moog keyboards. You also have an inclining of the legacy of Bob Moog – His legacy goes back to the starts of the synth world. He got his start in 1954 by building and selling Therimins with his father. In 1963 Bob built his first modular synth. Bob Moog is a legend, his synths are legend and now those of us using iPad for creating music can enjoy THREE Moog apps on our iPad! Animoog was the first professional synth released for iPad and is still one of those apps we go back to constantly! Filtatron came next and just this past week they released Model 15!

Model 15 is the first modular synth created for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. Not only is it meant as a performance app but for the educational world it is also meant as a tool with which to educate students about modular synthesis.

“Each facet of the Moog Model 15 modular synthesizer has been meticulously recreated in this application to ensure the power and transcendent sound quality of each module remains intact. The character, harmonic complexity and mystique of the Moog Model 15s modules, from the legendary Moog 921–series oscillators and 904A Low Pass Filter, to the coveted 907 Fixed Filter Bank have been painstakingly preserved.”

Even better is the fact that we get MORE than what was originally offered because we are using this on a touch screen interface running modern processors – “Also included are extended features which expand the capabilities of the app beyond the traditional offerings of the hardware Moog Model 15. These include total MIDI integration, assignment for external control, use as a MIDI controller, dedicated Audio Bridge and MIDI Bridge modules, looping recorder module with overdubbing, a master ping-pong delay module and a new extension cabinet that includes additional amplifiers and voltage-controlled reversible attenuators that can be used for effects like ring-modulation.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

What this means in normal words is that this app is a very sweet way to introduce today’s students to the amazing world of modular synthesis without having to spend $10,000 for the hardware synth! I mean, what music department has THAT much money? (And if there is a job opening please let me know because I am interested!)

It also means that the latest music tech is all included giving us all sorts of connectivity. Plus the app is developed using Apple’s latest Metal Technology which gives us an immersive interface that previously was unable to be developed! Of course since this uses Metal that does eliminate older devices that are not 64 bit.

Look at this list of supported music tech – Inter App Audio, Audio Bus, Audio and MIDI Bridge, Ableton Link and MIDI over BlueTooth LE! 3D Touch and the Apple Pencil are even integrated giving us after touch! AudioCopy, AudioPaste and AudioShare are integrated as well!

These sort of technologies all coming together into an already impressive array of available music apps is because of the outstanding developers Moog has working for them. These developers have been on the cutting edge of music technology for years. People like Geert Bevin work there – Geert has also recently been working with Roger Linn (yup, the inventor of the drum machine) on the innovative LinnStrument (go google it!) Geert and the rest of the team are users of iPad music apps. They perform with it, play with it, create with it and enjoy the new possibilities it brings us!

Model 15 comes in at the high end of app pricing at $29.99 but considering that to actually buy the hardware we would have to cough up 10 grand $30 seems like more than a bargain. Once you listen to the sounds coming out of the app you will not be sorry you spent the money either. In fact you will probably find yourself spending more money on the IAP’s of additional sound banks. Even though Model 15 comes with 160 presets you will be wanting more because it’s kind of like a well made Apple pie except non-fattening!

Here is a video introducing you to the app…

Session Band Apps still On Massive Sale! Don’t forget bundles!

If you ever have worked with Band In A Box then you are familiar with the concept of the Session Band apps. These things are pretty crazy fast to get a background for a piece of music you are working on. Pick the Session Band app that best fits the style you are going for, type in some chords and hit play! Boom…. Instant fun!

There is at least one HUGE difference here in these apps from some other apps like Band in a Box the loops you find in Session Band are actually recorded by real people! This means even better and more natural sounding loops. The loops all allow you to adjust tempo to your liking. The loops are also copyright free which means you can use the genius results from your explorations in your next big CD release!

There are 12 apps available covering Jazz, Blues, Rock, Piano, EDM, Acoustic Guitar and there is even one that's just plain Drums. There are several volumes of some of these with plans to make more volumes. They are all at $1.99 ( not sure for how much longer though)

Here's another thought too…. BUNDLES!!!! I love bundles of apps but really wish they were easier to find! Here's the fun part…. If you have already purchased one or two of the apps then when there is a sale going on the bundle becomes cheaper too! So in my case the bundle of Sessin Band Apps has 10 of their apps included and costs $12.99 currently. I've bought 2 of those apps before so through “Complete My Bundle” my price now is $6.01! Now THAT is a deal!

The Jazz Bundle has three volumes and is $3.99

The Acoustic Bundle has two apps in in and is $2.99

The big bundle of all ten apps is at $12.99

 

These apps are a great starting point for some people, for other people they actually can serve as excellent accaompaniment tracks for performance. Other people will get inspired by them and others will spend hours in these things.

 

Notion on iPad Tips

Notion Large

Notion for iOS – $14.99

Well this weekend I decided to create four keyboard parts for my electronic group. I also decided that I was going to use Notion on my iPad to do that. I’ve come up with a few tips for you….

I worked WAY better in “Continuous View” which is strange because I kind of hate that view in Sibelius on a laptop.

Part of learning if an app will work for you is to force yourself to just sit down and USE it exclusively! Don’t allow your self to go back to whatever you HAVE been using. Just bite the bullet and use the new app. It’s going to be frustrating but the more you have to dig for answers, the faster you will become better at it!

When Entering Notes…

  1. Use the record feature if you can play the part from an external keyboard. It’s pretty darn accurate!
    1. turn off tuplets if you don’t need them though!
    2. Set your split point if working with a grand staff.
    3. Really think about the Multi-Voice – try it both ways. Sometimes I thought having this on would work better and as it turned out it was actually worse!)
  2. Learn what each mode does fro entering notes –
    1. The two quarter notes besides each other allows for entry of one note at a time
    2. The chords allow for entering of more than one note
    3. The Pencil one allows you to step entry
    4. the speaker icon allows you to hear the selected note
    5. Learn where the Voice One and Voice Two options are in the fifth menu over from the left
      1. Voice One has a solid note on top of an outlined note
      2. Voice Two has an outlined note on top of a solid note
      3. Of course if you are entering drum parts there are four voice choices right there to the left of the drum pads.

From Skitch

When selecting many measures at a time to copy and paste into another part…

  1. To grab the little blue handle you have to tap and wait a moment THEN drag!
  2. You HAVE to let go of the blue handle to move the screen over – you CANNOT drag the handles and expect the screen to scroll at the same time.
  3. After moving the screen over wait for it to stop moving BEFORE grabbing the blue handle again. Then tap, wait a moment and drag your selection out further.
  4. When the entire passage is selected make sure to select the option you need (Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Clear etc…) BEFORE moving the screen back! Otherwise you are going to end up repeating this entire process AGAIN!

From Skitch-1

Rehearsal Marks….

  1. Add all rehearsal marks at the same time – just makes it easier then jumping back and forth between tools.
  2. Make sure the spot where you want to insert the rehearsal mark is actually green. If you just selected a note and turned it orange then the rehearsal is NOT going to go there! (See note below about dynamics and this tip)
    1. In fact you can NOT even have the entire measure selected to insert a rehearsal mark (IF you want it to show up in the spot you THINK it should! Which is usually at the start of a measure by the way PreSonus!)
  3. Good grief I wish there was a way to have those rehearsal marks be the measure number by default!

Dynamics….

  1. Add all your dynamics at the same time – just makes it easier then jumping back and forth between tools.
  2. When inserting dynamics the spot you want the dynamic to be inserted can be Green OR Orange either one unlike when dealing with Rehearsals marks as noted above!

Hairpins (Crescendo/Decrescendo)….

  1. Yeah…. can’t find them? Select a measure and you will! Pretty slick eh?
  2. Oh…. Notion determines if you should ACTUALLY be putting a hairpin in the spot you want to…
    1. For instance you will NOT be able to add a decrescendo in a piano part underneath a whole note.

From Skitch-2

Page Layout and Printing….

  1. Adding different types of titles, credits, page numbers DOES NOT WORK SMOOTHLY so be warned that you are going to have to dink around with this a BUNCH before you get all the text on your page the way it should be. It’s almost as if overtime you add a new one and the iPad AUTOMATICALLY picks a meta type, that if you already had one of those in there (and you usually do) that things get switched all around. BE PATIENT and for goodness sakes I hope PreSonus reads this blog post and gets to work fixing this issue! (I’m sure they already a fix in action!)
  2. Please oh please add a title for pages 2, 3, 4 on to the end of the piece!
    1. There are quite a few pre-set Text types you can choose from
      1. Title, Subtitle, Credit, Dedication, Copyright, Date, Page Number, Part Name, or on iPad the type of None
  3. Please add the Part Name to each part you print.
  4. When changing Page Layout margins make sure you change the size of the margins and then hit the BACK button or else the changes will NOT take place! (Drives me NUTS! I want to change the margins and then just tap out of there back into the score.)
  5. Play around with the notation size and margins until you get just the right look for you parts BEFORE you print them! SAVE A TREE!

Score and Part Printing….

  1. There isn’t a piano reduction tool in Notion yet so don’t bother looking for it!
  2. There isn’t a way to print just two or three of the parts into a condensed score so if you want to do that you will have to have multiple files. One would be the full score and another would contain just the parts you want. (Again, hopefully PreSonus already is fixing this issue and expanding the capabilities of Notion!)

Saving and Sharing….

  1. The new options under the sharing menu just simply rock now! (THANKS PRESONUS!)
  2. You can now Send As a …. Notion File, PDF, PDF Parts, MusicXML, WAV, AAC, MIDI
  3. You can now Save to your Device or to iCloud (Choose this – it’s magic!)
  4. You can upload to SoundCloud
  5. You can Email (and all those different types mentioned in #2 above are choices when you email it!)
  6. or you can Print it

From SkitchFrom Skitch-1

 

If you have some tips for using Notion on iPad I’d love to add them to my list here!

 

 

Creating Music Notation on an iPad

Notion Large Iconnotatemelogo = AMAZING

Ever run into the scenario where you pull out a piece of music that you really want to perform for your next concert only to find out that the keyboard part has been lost?

Ever have a budding young bass guitarist who is learning how to read notes and play that bass but you know that if you handed her tabs to go along with the notation things would go a whole lot faster in rehearsal?

My answers: Yup and Yup!

My response: Use a couple of apps, my iPad and an external MIDI Keyboard along with my Camera Connection Kit and an hour or so later I have the problem solved!

THE PROCESS:

I took the actual paper copy of the bass part to the piece of music, used the outstanding app NotateMe Icon SmallNotateMe along with the PhotoScore plugin and took a picture on my iPhone of the bass part. NotateMe and the PhotoScore plugin turned that picture of the sheet music into digital notation. Using my iPhone and my finger I cleaned up and fixed a few small errors. Then I exported that as an XML file into Notion Small IconNotion for iPad. Notion is a full featured music notation app for iPad as well as desktop computers.

I did the same for the guitar part just for the fun of it because it is so stinking fast and easy to do!

Here is what the Bass guitar part looked like after I imported it into Notion and set the instrument as a Bass Guitar (Notion automatically had the TAB turned on for me already but it is a quick tap of a button to turn off as you will that I did for the Guitar part) Now I’ve got my bassist taken care of.

Bass_With_Tab

On to the lost Keyboard part – for this I hooked up my Camera Connection Kit to my Novation LaunchKey. The LaunchKey is bus powered by the iPad so I didn’t have to worry about additional power cords or batteries.

Then in Notion I added a piano part, tapped on the first measure, and then the record button. Then I played the right hand in real time while Notion (on an iPad mind you!) recorded it. During recording you get these little blue lines but as soon as you hit the stop button those blue lines get turned into music notation! I have come to discover that doing this on an iPad is giving me just results that are just as excellent as on a laptop! Then I repeated and recorded the left hand. While recording the left hand I set the split point so that it wouldn’t mess up the RH part. I had a couple of weird errors afterwards so I fixed those quickly by tapping and selecting and erasing and changing – easy and quick!

After all that this is my score I ended up with on the iPad… You can see that it looks fantabulous!

Notion ScorePRSunset

The last and final step was to hit the share/export button, elect Export PDF, select Individual Parts and then Email. I sent myself a copy to print in the morning and I also sent my bassist a copy of her new sheet music that now included the TABs.

If you have NOT used NotateMe you really must! There is even a totally free version of the app called NotateMe Icon SmallNotateMe Now that allows you to experience the PhotoScore plugin as well FOR FREE – the limitation is that it only works with one stave parts. So a trumpet part could be scanned in but a piano part could not.

If you have not decided whether or not Music Notation on an iPad is ready yet get your gift card out and buy either SymphonyPro Small IconSymphonyPro ($9.99) or Notion Small IconNotion for iPad ($14.99) (warning – Notion does take about 2GB’s of space on your iPad because of the amazing sounds used in the app!)

Xenon Labs does also have a version of Symphony for iPhoneSymphony for iPhone that works very well and is only $4.99

The Full version of NotateMe is $39.99 (NotateMe is actually an app that allows you to handwrite music notation)
The PhotoScore Plugin for NotateMe is $29.99 (Yes, I fully understand that some of you may have choked on your pancakes upon seeing the price of these two apps – let me put it into perspective for you though – I used to do this same thing with a REAL computer, a REAL scanner and the $250 version of PhotoScore for computers. The scary cool thing is that it seems like this almost works better on my iPad!)