iPad music apps revisited
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One of the most popular articles I’ve written here on my blog has been about sheet music apps for the iPad. I wanted to do a followup letting people know what I’ve found most useful and what I use regularly for music in general.
This is my go to app. For viewing sheet music, this is the one. As a performing musician called upon to perform from sheet music and someone who plays far too many different titles to memorize everything, I need something to display my sheet music. This program is the hands down winner. The latest version (compatible with iOS7) adds some nice features. The only complaint I have is they have implemented non-standard html in their ‘console’ interface that allows you to manipulate your score database via your desktop browser. It won’t work with Windows 7 & the latest Chrome browser. (Let’s face it, doing anything that requires typing on the iPad is a futile effort, particularly if you touch type).
MIDI related apps
One comment. I think the iPad has a long way to go before it can be considered a content creation device. It’s great for consuming content, but terrible for making it. If you have no choice but to make your creation of music recordings “on the go”, then you really have no choice. For me, it takes three or four times longer to do the same on the iPad, if I can do it at all, as it does on my home PC. Maybe, just maybe someone who has never used anything but the iPad can do it fast, but I doubt it. One also has little choice but to by external (expensive) hardware to use with the iPad in order to make it possible to do any creating of content. In that case, I might as well buy a laptop. And let’s not even talk about the terrible speaker that comes with the iPad. (I know, use headphones, but that’s just something else to have to carry and/or buy).
iRig MIDI – This program requires the over-priced iRig MIDI hardware interface that often slips out of the iPad. Good if you need to hook up an external midi device to your ipad (for playing in or playing out). Complaint, the app isn’t very good. You can’t transfer midi files from your computer to the app. Many midi files I’ve created and then transferred to my computer cannot be read by any software I own. But, when I play them directly into my computer and record them into those same software programs, it records just fine (but takes 10 times as long to do). ikMultimedia won’t fix the problem.
TouchOSC – I’m disappointed with this. I loved playing with it when I first got it, but 99% of the time, I don’t use it. I perform on an acoustic piano or organ so I have no need for using it live. When it comes to studio based production, I can do everything as efficiently using the computer mouse and keyboard. I never used a midi controller prior to having this, so maybe it’s just that I’m not use to controllers. If you are, then, given the very expensive price of the iPad, it makes sense to use it as a hardware controller rather than buying one. So for that, it’s good. For entering midi notes (like a pianist would on a regular synthesizer), forget it, you’ll be frustrated.
SampleTankFree – I’m told that professionals use it (and it’s paid cousin) to make tracks that go straight to albums or they export to a DAW. For me, it’s too toy or game-like and very limited to do anything serious with. I know the free version is a teaser for the paid version, but frankly, it’s not done the job. If you are never at home and never able to use a midi keyboard or computer to enter your music, then this might, just might work while you are away from them.
Piano Lesson or Educational software
I like the following. They all have their pluses and minuses.
Pitch Invasion (ear training)
QF Notes (note flash cards)
Dust Buster (for new piano students, young students)
PlainText (a plain notepad for entering notes about students or anything).
Other software worth mentioning
WavePad (basic audio recorder)
unrealBook (another notation program. Good for leadsheets)
dbVolume (a SPL db meter to tell you how loud things are)
TraktorDJ (lookup Traktor on the native instruments website. DJ software)
Software I have my eye on
NotateMe – Supposedly allows you to hand-write your music on the iPad and then transfer to your computer for importing into Sibeliius or Finale.
Thanks for reading. Please comment and let me know what you’re using.
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