Tip for Sending Program Changes from ForScore – Make Your Life Easier (and way cooler!)

I’ve got a problem – I REALLY like using my iPad as my digital sheet music BUT I also REALLY like using my iPad as an Instrument while performing!

The problem comes in when I want to change sounds on my instrument app but don’t want to be flipping between apps during performance!

The Solution – Use ForScore‘s ability to send program changes. UnRealBook also does this. One other slight hiccup in the solution is that not all instrument apps make it easy to figure out which program changes to send. Actually some apps just don’t respond to program changes. In FACT one app makes it SEEM like you should be able to send program changes but the app does NOT respond accurately! So, in order to save you some time until KV331 gets THAT issue fixed don’t bother messing around with program changes in their SynthMaster Player app. The app will respond to Program Changes but you will have to guess the correct PC to send as the ones listed are NOT correct!

INSTRUMENT APPS THAT RESPOND TO PROGRAM CHANGES:
Also, to save you time I will say that the following apps are pretty easy to figure out: Korg Module, Korg iM1, AudioKit Digital D1 and AudioKit Synth One (Which is free by the way and if you want an app to use as an instrument then go download this one!)

DIGITAL SHEET MUSIC APPS THAT SEND PROGRAM CHANGES:
ForScore and UnRealBook are super easy apps to make this happen in.

1 iPad or 2:
This is just as easy using one iPad if your iPad CPU is capable of handling the load of running ForScore and an instrument app. Which means you are probably going to be able to do this just fine. The instrument apps will be what gives you crackles and pops if your iPad isn’t new enough but seriously…. this trick isn’t that CPU intensive.

Now…. if you have TWO iPads it is fun to see the changes happen real time!

So… I have created a YouTube video to show you the setup as it is easier to see then to read about. I have it at the bottom of this post.unrea

In short though – you have to know which channel your instrument app will be on (I messed this up in the video so you can watch it fail!)

Korg iM1 LargeThen you also need to know which program change you need to send. I had to dig around for the Korg iM1 info but found that if I saved my sounds to the Library Card 1 then I can send the following info – MSB 0, LSG 37, and then whatever PC # is where I stored the sound I want to use. So In order to select DreamPad20 as in the screenshot below and on the video you would send MSB 0, LSB, PC 1

Korg iM1.jpeg

Module for iPhoneIn Korg Module you have to put the sounds you want to use in their SetList feature. Then subtract 1 from the number next the sound you want to use and send that as the Program Change. So in the screenshot below If I wanted to select KAPhysical Model like I do in the video then I have to send a PC of 1.

Korg Module SetList Example 1.jpeg

AudioKit D1In AudioKit Apps they are super duper nice guys and they list the info right next to the Sound. So in order to select the sound in Digital D1 as in the screen shot below BB For Mandy You would send MSB 3, LSB 0, PC 49AudioKit Digital D1 Example.jpeg

So then with THAT knowledge head over to ForScore, add a Button from the toolbox, choose the MIDI Action, Hit the + Button and select Program Change. In the screenshot below you can see where I have setup four instrument apps to receive Program Changes when I hit this one button.

ForScore PC Example.jpeg

Tap the Done button and it’s time for the magic! Tap the blue Button and boom…. all four apps are now on the correct sounds! The beauty of all of this is that you can set up as many of these buttons as you would like. So it’s not going to automatically send the PC info until you hit the button.

TIP:
There is no rule for which app to put on which channel but it sure helps if you make up your own rules. My four main apps I am using currently are More Module Ch2, AudioKit Digital D1 Ch3, AudioKit SynthOne Ch4, Korg iM1 Ch5. If I keep using the same channels for these apps it becomes habit.

ONE LAST THOUGHT:
KeyStage IconNow…. If you have only one controller and it is a basic controller that does not allow for layers and splits or even changing of the MIDI channel then you will be using one app on one channel. If you want greater flexibility then check out my previous YouTube video about KeyStage. It is an awesome app for live performance with your keyboard!

YouTube Video:

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Using Notion in place of non-available Musicians!

I have been an extremely busy bee the past couple months working hard on a project here at the school. I’d like to share just a bit.

I’ve learned a ton about using Notion software, by PreSonus, to fill in for musicians that just are not available.

You see we are a small school district with limited funds and limited access to amazing musicians who are able to cover all the possible different instruments we might want to utilize in a particular production. We just are not able to produce an entire orchestra, including harpist!

So I set out to see if it was possible to make do by using the nTempo feature in Notion.

Through a long process of taking the orchestra parts, entering them into the computer, and lots of trial and error I have found that using Notion with nTempo is absolutely a wonderful solution! Not a replacement in ANY WAY shape or form but I’d rather go live WITH these parts then to NOT have the parts!

I do have a few tips to share:

notatemelogo– NotateMe – with PhotoScore – Well worth every penny of the two combined purchases – the full app itself and then the IAP of PhotoScore

PhotoScore
Enter a caption

SCANNING:

  • Neuratrons NotateMe used in conjunction with the PhotoScore in-app-purchase saved me a TON of time!
  • I’ve found that using my iPhone X with NotateMe’s PhotoScore was WAY faster than using my original iPad Pro 12.9″ (I really wasn’t surprised that it was faster but I WAS surprised at HOW much faster it was!) Hands down, noticeable!
  • Sometimes PhotoScore was NOT the fastest way!
  • PhotoScore does NOT get everything –
    • multi measure repeats are the first obvious item it misses.
    • Another biggie was that sometimes it missed the key signature.
    • Text ALWAYS had to be cleaned up.

Notion LargeNotion – for iOS – Well worth having this on my iOS devices as well as my laptop! Has replaced my previous notation app.

ENTERING MUSIC:

  • PhotoScore was how I started with the strings – Violin 1 & 2, Viola, Cello, String Bass
    • I always had to adjust the Show Attachments Above/Below to Auto.
    • I also had to adjust Set Note Stem Direction to Auto.
  • Step Entry Mode is Pretty stinking fast!
    • Harp parts got entered via step entry mode
    • Many little parts that my High School kids couldn’t play were also entered via step entry –
  • Real Time Recording absolutely needs a quantize feature. Because of the lack of this feature I found it useless.
  • LEARN YOUR KEY BOARD SHORTCUTS!
  • In a huge project like this I actually for the first time in my life lived in Continuous View Mode

ENTERING LYRICS:

  • Found out that entering Lyrics has a bug – it doesn’t always work in Continuous View Mode!
    • Two Solutions
      • One – switch to Pages Across or Pages Down mode
      • Two – Enter Score Layout mode and drag the Part containing lyrics down lower in the score temporarily.

USING THE iPAD:

  • For the entire first act I never touched my computer. I scanned all the string parts via my iPhoneX and then edited them all in Notion on my iPad.
  • Then I switched to my computer.
  • I think the computer is possibly a bit faster.
  • I haven’t tried the full score on my iPad again, now that I am about done. I am wondering if the iPad can actually handle playing the full score.

nTempo Screen.png

nTEMPO:

  • Using nTempo is pretty straight forward.
    • First of all – Not available on iOS – only Desktop/Laptop
    • Add an nTempo Track to your score (it’s under basics)
    • Add the beat that you’d like to tap along to
    • Then hit that little conductor dude (or Shift Return – which is VERY finicky though – sometimes that shortcut works and sometimes not. I really have NOT figured out the trick fully) (See the screen shot above to spot the conductor icon)
    • THEN the MAGIC….
    • start tapping and the music start to play and follows your tapping for tempo!
    • Sometimes it is easier to tap in specific rhythms rather than the beat – for instance why Tapp four quarter notes when everyone is holding a whole note? or why tap quarter notes if everyone is playing quarter note triplets? (as you can see in the screenshot above…. the nTempo part is NOT quarter notes)

iCLOUD SYNC for NOTION

  • iCloud sync in Notion is scary good! I never once had to manually transfer files between my iPhone/iPad/Laptop when I had wi-fi available.
  • I was working on the beach during spring break a few times and had to AirDrop files back and forth then
ForScore
ForScore

FORSCORE:

  • I used this app to store references to all the books that I did not want to carry with me.
  • I am actually NOT using my iPad during the show because using the computer AND iPad is a bit much. I actually like the static reliability of having a two page paper score in front of me.
    • That has been a pain though for simple things like quickly finding specific songs. I mean the full score is 202 pages LONG!

OVERALL:

As for the sounds coming from Notion – OUTSTANDING – I remember the day I’d have to create a score for the way I wanted things to look and then another for the way I wanted things to sound. With Notion, this is no longer the case! Dynamics, articulations, and the list goes on…. they ALL make the sounds you’d expect! It’s very nice!

With the exception of swing… yeah… that’s a bit iffy still. It kind of works but there are adaptations you have to make. Like when you want one 8th note and then the next two tied.

I’ve ended up putting WAY more parts into the computer than I anticipated because I decided that trying to be the nTempo tapper AND trying to read my paper score was impossible! I really needed to use simply the computer.

Here are the parts I’ve put in that I never thought of before I started this process….

  • Piano Conductor – This is a piano part that actually get turned off in the mixer. It is there because even on a 15″ MacBook Pro screen I can not see all the parts. If I’m conducting I have to know what the heck I’m conducting. It is in effect a condensed score that lives at the top of my screen.
  • The actors cue lines to know how the music lines up with the dialogue.
  • Vocal Parts WITH lyrics – this helps immensely as I do NOT remember lyrics very well. It also helps to separate the vocal line from the instrumental parts.
  • nTempo – I knew I’d have to enter beats. I didn’t really understand the intense pre-thought of how detailed this track would become.
    • It’s WAY easier to just conduct – it comes second nature 🙂 I do wish I had the resources for all live musicians.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

You had better have a great sound system to make this work. First of all the sounds in Notion rock but if your speakers are bad… well….

You’ve got to have a good monitoring system so you and the live musicians can hear the track.

and finally…. just like a real live instrument… YOU’D BETTER PRACTICE A TON!