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!)

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Pixelmator – A real photo editor for your iPad

I suppose it's because I am finishing marching season and I have to go through all the photos I've taken this year, that I am thinking so much about photo apps. Or maybe it's just because Pixelmator is such a game changer of an app.

Pixelmator is a brand new app that we first saw in a demo the day that the iPhone6 was introduced.

If you have ever wanted to edit those pics you have taken but the edit options in Apple Photos just are not enough for you then it's time to move up! Of course maybe if you had an app like Pixelmator, you would find new and exciting ways to manipulate your photos to bring your teaching materials to life?

Filters, effects, adding text, shadows, being able to adjust color, light balance, or drastically improve less then perfect pics with a few taps…. All of this is what Pixelmator is about.

I love the heal tool…. You really have to experience this to believe it. Have an extra person in your pic that you don't want? Brush over them and wa-la, they are gone, replaced by a magic background of what would have been there if they weren't.

This is one more of those apps that has a desktop version to match. The best part is that the iPad version was developed specifically for iPad, not simply adapted to it. This means that everything is optimized for touch. It also means that through iCloud, your pics and their edits can be found both on your iPad as well as your Mac!

Of course since you are going to want to share those amazing pics you have edited with parent of your students, sharing has to be easy. Pixelmator has Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook all covered.

Pixelmator is $4.99

 

Smile at your iPad to turn your sheet music pages! (for free!)

Symphonizer Big IconHere is another app that is simple and straightforward…. plus it’s gonna make you smile!

Symphonizer does one thing, and it does it well. The app (which is currently free – down from $2.99) allows you to import your PDF Sheet Music and then it will turn the pages for you every time you smile at it!

That’s it.

Seriously…. that’s it! 🙂