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IPad Question For Fellow Pianists

Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:28 am

I am a nearly-lifelong pianist (28 years ago this April I began piano lessons at age 8), and have given numerous public and private performances, as well as regular playing of hymns at church over the years. I have played many times from memory (when I was young), but more often than not, I am lugging one or two of my sizable collection of binders full of sheet music. I have binders full of hymns and older sacred music (going as far back as the 5th century), as well as binders containing classical and other styles of sheet music. I got the idea of putting my sheet music in plastic protectors in binders, from a fellow church pianist, years ago. However, while this is a very convenient way to store and organise sheet music, the weight of these binders adds up when I need to carry them (and my bad back is not getting any better).

Like every pianist, when I play at church or in a performance, there is also the annoying need to turn pages quickly whilst playing.

Now that the iPad has been out for 2 years now, I have finally seen how this device can be very useful for me, in my scientific research as well as in my life outside of research. This includes my piano-playing life.

Now, a question for my fellow pianists (and other performing musicians): Are there sheet-music applications now available for iPad, so I can eliminate carrying around stacks or binders of sheets? If there are such apps, can I simply pull up a song and "read" it right there, page by page, on the iPad (just like a book's page on an e-book reader)?

I envision myself simply carrying my iPad right up to the piano, placing it in portrait orientation on the music holder, and reading each page, just like physical sheet music. When I want to go to the next page, I could just swipe my finger across to the left to "turn" to the next page, all the while playing.

Are there such apps available?

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RE: IPad Question For Fellow Pianists

Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:19 am

I'm not that familiar with all of the apps for the iPad, but you mentioned e readers; what I wanted to point out was, before you buy an iPad, you might want to take a look at the new Kindle Fire; while it's about 2/3 the size of the iPad, I'm pretty sure it would do the same thing, for about 1/3 the cost of the iPad.

I bought my fiancee' a Fire for Christmas and she absolutely loves the thing; I'll never get to try it though, because she's reading a book on it all the time; I think she's gone through 20 or 30 books already. The quality of the display is excellent, probably as good as the iPad, but just slightly smaller. I forget how many apps she said there are available for it, but it's a huge number.

I think it's a great idea you have, and I can see that it could be much easier to change pages quickly and effortlessly;
Now that I've seen how convenient it makes reading a book, I'm probably going to buy another one to use myself.
While my vision is still quite good considering my age, I very much like to ability to make the text on the display any one of 4 or 5 sizes. I'm also thinking, if there isn't such an app available at the present, I'll bet if the people who develop apps were to be made aware of the need for one, that they would have one available "pronto", as I can see that it would be in huge demand.

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RE: IPad Question For Fellow Pianists

Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:52 am

I believe you are looking for something like this here.

New in version 1.1 is the "tap/swipe" to turn pages-type-feature.

However, since I am the King of Vintage Technology, I'm more inclined to point you toward an Atari ST 1040 
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RE: IPad Question For Fellow Pianists

Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:21 pm

I would worry that two pages displayed on a 10" screen would be difficult to read.
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RE: IPad Question For Fellow Pianists

Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:59 pm

Pianist chiming in, here.

I've used the iPad for reading music (though in the privacy of my home, not at a performance).

It's a balance between convenience and having to turn pages twice as often (since it only displays a single page). I've found that piano music (if done well) tends to be printed so that, at the bottom of each right-hand page, there's an opportunity to turn the sheet. When you're displaying a single page, that won't necessarily happen.

If you decide that turning twice as often isn't a big deal, then the iPad is a good option. The screen is great quality, the swipe feature is great. Unless there's new software out there, I believe it will have to be in PDF format, however. Lastly, you'll have to play with the settings to make sure the iPad doesn't fall asleep!

Nothing, however, will replace a good old-fashioned page turning assistant!

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RE: IPad Question For Fellow Pianists

Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:16 pm

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 4):
Nothing, however, will replace a good old-fashioned page turning assistant!

Agreed! Don't put us out of work! When I was younger a serious chunk of my pocket money came from page turning.
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