Notion on iPad – Music Notation Rocks on iPad!

I’ve got to say that entering music notation scores and editing them on an iPad is a very enjoyable feat these days!

Notion Small IconNotion ($15) makes things so extremely easy with the touch interface! If you have NOT purchased Notion for your iPad you are crazy! I have no idea what in the world you are waiting for!

In fact, using the on screen keyboard to enter notes using the record function actually ends up working better many times than doing it on the laptop!

Notion Record

Drum notation is so much easier too using their drum pads to enter the notes in. I used to dread clicking on the correct space or line with a mouse – now I just select voice on or two and then tap the pad for which ever instrument I want! Easy as pie!

Notion Drum Editor

Th sound is amazing as well when we play the score back!

Notion is not without issues – it drives me crazy having to transpose in my head to get all the instrumental parts entered correctly! Also, there are still issues with page layouts. I just can not believe this is even possible though on an iPad all for $15!

Elastic Drums Coming To iPad – BUY NOW AND SAVE!

Elastic Drums LargeHere is the latest from Elastic Drums Developer (One of the best drum synths on the app store) –

Elastic Drums will very soon become a universal instead of just an iPhone app. The Universal price will be $11. The Update (end of march) will be free for iPhone app owners. So buy it now to get it cheaper :)


Page Layout Issues In Music Notation App

Notion Layout Issues

Editing Music Notation with Notion (On Laptop vs iPad)

NotionLogoThere are more and more reasons to love using an iPad as a musician! One of those is the fact that we now have full featured music notation apps available! One such app is Notion from PreSonus Music. It is for several reasons that I have purchased Notion on both my iPad as well as my laptop. Now the journey has been to learn the in’s and out’s of both apps!

Using Notion feels very familiar in so many ways, in fact Notion is even easier sometimes then wha tI have used in the past! I really like inputting articulations for instance – it’s a breeze! Sometimes I run into problems figuring the new methods out though. Thank goodness for Twitter and Notions quick and helpful response! To Whom ever is on the other end of that Twitter account – THANK YOU FOR BEING HELPFUL AND RESPONSIVE!

Here is the issue I had today – My score had rhythmic issues in it. I had 16th notes for instance that I needed to be changed into 8th notes. I was on my laptop at the time. What I tried was to select the 16th note then click on the 8th note tool in the tool bar – I figured it would a quick fix. Well, it did not work!

Eventually I decided the best way to change the 16th notes was to click on the 8th note tool (or simply type the short cut – e) then I went and clicked on each of the 16th notes in the score that I wanted to have changed. As long as I clicked right on top of the old note this worked, each 16th was changed to an 8th. This process created problem #2 though –  I kept missing that darn note head and so I would end up with an extra note that I then had to delete!

Then I found that if I selected the notes I wanted to have changed, then typed the = key followed by e then all the notes I had selected would then be changed to 8th notes. This of course then left me with problem #3 though – Now I had measures with the wrong number of counts in them!

So I grabbed my iPad, fired up Notion and tried changing note values on the iPad….

Strange thing was that on iPad, if I tapped on the 16th note that I wanted changed to an 8th and then tapped the 8th note in the tool bar the value changed as I expected it to! I guess this is just the difference between working with a touch screen. What I could not ever figure out on the iPad was how to change more than one note at a time (problem #4) This really wasn’t an issue though as on iPad it is so fast to select a note and then change the value – it just seems faster to tap, change then on the desktop.

So…. in hopes that I help someone else figure out how to do this this the correct way I post this blog post. I also made a video so you can see what I mean – it’s a bit difficult to explain.

Using iPad Mixed With Logic Pro To Arrange Music

The Recipe –

Use your iPad and Cubasis to start then add in a bunch of ThumbJam, Guitarism, EarHoof, iGrand, iFretless Bass. Throw in a huge dose of InterApp Audio Then brew it all into Logic Pro to find a drummer!

Used Logic the entire time actually to be the in-between for my QuNexus and Novation Lanuchkey to run through Music IO back into my iPad into Cubasis.

The outcome –

The Process –

I need a backing track to play with for our Irish Festival coming up. I knew I wanted Bagpipes in there along with some tin whistle. That brought out ThumbJam Small IconThumbJam and Cubasis small iconCubasis on the iPad. Of course I needed a scratch track to follow along with so that meant I grabbed the QuNexus – I could have hooked it straight into the iPad but why do that when there is a new app out there that allows me to plug my QuNexus and iPad into my laptop to share with Logic Pro (which I knew I would use later). So that meant I got a chance to try out Music IO Small IconMusic IO….. I used that app to play my QuNexus (which was plugged into my Laptop and Logic) to control the soft synth in Cubasis and recorded the melody line real quick.

Then came the Bagpipes – Had to use Inter-App Audio to make the connection from ThumbJam into Cubasis. I also recorded the violin and hang drum parts this way.

Couldn’t be finished without a Guitar player so I used InterApp Audio and Guitarism Small IconGuitarism to record that into Cubasis on the iPad.

LAST STEP – (or so I thought)

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.16.28 PM

I then took the Cubasis project and shared it to DropBox. Then it was off to the laptop. I unzipped the Cubasis file, opened Logic Pro and dumped in the audio recordings. This allowed me to then see sheet music in Logic Pro that played back in sync with the recording. This allows me to play the melodies on the EWI while viewing “sheet music” in Logic! this assures that I don’t get lost, forget where I am or miss a note because I’m turning a page (I suppose I really should get one of those foot pedals!)


After realizing that the entire arrangement was too short I decided I needed to tag on another time through everything but this time I needed a Drummer, Pianist and Bassist!

So I had to grab a bigger keyboard controller because there was no way I was going to play those piano parts on the QuNexus. I hooked things up the same way as last time. The Novation LaunchKey into the laptop running through Logic Pro and Music IO Small IconMusic IO over into Cubasis on the iPad.

Piano parts were played on iGrand icon smalliGrand Piano. Bass parts were from iFretlessIconiFretless Bass.

This time when I recorded in Cubasis I created a MIDI track as well as an Inter-App Audio track. This allowed me to record the piano and bass parts as MIDI, go back and edit the MIDI recordings and THEN record the actual audio file.

Of course after that I had to add in a touch of weirdness so I brought out EarHoof SmallEarHoof – I love this app but just have not used it often enough! I recorded a bass drum part that also had a heavily repeated higher swishing sound with it. It’s cool!

The Drummer I pulled from Logic’s Drummer feature – fast, quick and easy!


First of all – yes I took some artistic freedom in style and tempo for this piece! It is after all “MY VERSION”!

Second of all – yes there are probably some easier ways to do some this but I like exploring!

Thirdly – It boils down to this…. we have so many options to create – JUST GO CREATE!

SnapHeal – Remove Items From Your Photos!

Have you seen this deal for SnapHeal Small IconSnapHeal? It is $4.99 (normally $13) plus you could upgrade to the full version of the $39.99 app for only $20 more according to their website.

SnapHeal is an app for Mac OS X that gives you the ability to remove unwanted items from your photo’s!

SnapHeal2 SnapHeal1

Music IO: MIDI Over USB – the second such app all in the same weekend!

Music IO: MIDI Over USB by Secret Base Design is the second app released this weekend that allows for MIDI to be sent over the charging cable of your iPad when connected to your Mac! Such an amazing new possibility! Actually , this is how things should have worked from the start!

The exciting part is that the Music IO app is only $2.99! The midimux app that was announced just yesterday is $9.99! Here is where I wrote about Midimux – Midimux Released

In fact there is even more news about this app that you need to know…. Soon the Music IO app will be updated to allow for sending audio over the same USB connection! In fact, the audio sending feature is actually working in their prototypes. It works bi-directional even! The only question how soon will the interface for that feature going to be finished, soon they say. The first update may only feature audio in one direction – from your iOS device to your Mac but bi-directional will be released after that. The update will be free to users too!

Let’s compare prices of Music IO to Midimux: which will soon have a sister app to allow for audio over USB…

  • Music IO – $2.99 (for now) – Includes MIDI over USB now and soon will also include Audio over USB
  • Midimux – $9.99 – Includes MIDI over USB. When the other app to do Audio over USB is released there will be a bundle price of $14.99

You do the math. This is a hot race!

The developers of this app are not new to the iOS music scene. The app was a combination of efforts from three developers…. Secret Base Design, MIDI Designer and Audeonic Apps.

Here is some more information…..


  • Send & Receive MIDI between any CoreMIDI apps over USB (Lightning or 30 pin) with no perceptible latency nor jitter
  • Large sysex messages (eg. bulk dumps) handled seamlessly
  • Choose “send to” ports (OSX and iOS)
  • Choose “receive from” (OSX): route MIDI from anywhere to your iOS device
  • BridgeClock, a ground-breaking inter-device MIDI-clock-synchronization technology, provides jitter-free sync between platforms
  • Runs on iOS 6 or better


The developing team for this app are very active members on the iPad Musicians Facebook Group. It is interesting to note that through the release of the companion mac app there is a bug that has risen. Something about the way the Mac app store sandboxes  – sand in your boxers is never nice and this bug isn’t either! BUT we live in the 21st century and we have been having live updates from the developers all day long about what is going on and how to fix it – all through Facebook, from all over the world! These are exciting times we live in! Anyways… within hours the team had a fix up on their website. That should tell you something about their dedication to musicians using iOS to make music!


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