Tag Archives: iPad

PageFlip Firefly Kickerstarter

On Kickerstarter, there is an interesting kickerstarter for a new wireless/wired page turning pedal, the PageFlip Firefly. Looks like a great way to get one for cheap (probably like $20 off). They don’t ship until Feb 2014 though.

I don’t have any experience with using these on an iPad, but I have been using a “classic” X-Keys pedal for about 6 years for my dual monitor teaching setup. It works great.

Music Notation and Music Education Software News | MakeMusic, Inc.

Music Notation and Music Education Software News | MakeMusic, Inc.:

Minneapolis – November 12, 2012 – MakeMusic, Inc. (NASDAQ: MMUS) today announced the upcoming release of an iPad version of SmartMusic, the interactive practice software, in the spring of 2013. The app will be previewed to the public at the New York State School Music Association Winter Conference, November 29 – December 2, 2012, and The Midwest Clinic Annual Conference, December 19 – 22, 2012.

(Via www.makemusic.com)

MakeMusic should have this out in the Spring of 2012, not 2013. And hopefully it should run on ALL iPads (including the original) since Apple’s Garageband still runs on the original iPad (and it runs quite well actually).

Finale Songbook

Though this author likes the program, I think MakeMusic has missed the mark again. No transposition, no DropBox or any cloud integration. No annotations. No sale (even though it’s free). Maybe version 2 will correct this, but given how fast (or rather, slow) MakeMusic does updates to Finale and its other programs, I think the competition is going to continue to be way ahead of Finale.

If you want a good music reader for iPad, get ForScore

 

Finale Songbook:

I am happy to announce that Finale has finally released its first mainstream iPad app, Finale Songbook. Finale Songbook is a free app that allows you to read Finale files on your iPad. I love the name of the app, as it hearkens back to the song books of the jazz standards. The app opens to the main library, in which you can view your selections by playlists, title, composer, or file name. The library also includes a search bar, as well as a number of sample files and instructions on how to use the app.

 

(Via Technology in Music Education)

How Aebersold Needs To Embrace Technology

A while ago, I wrote a post/rant about Aebersold pushing the Superscope Elevation software. Enough said about that. But I get these mailings from jazz books.com about sales, and they are still pushing these Superscope CD things that are like $999. Insane.

It makes me wonder WHY Jazzbooks/Aebersold has not embraced the digital age yet. The writing has been on the wall for about 2 years now that print media is a dying business. As is the making of CDs. Aebersold is running the risk of becoming like Kodak.

So, how to change this? Here is what I would propose if I was in charge. First, offer digital versions of the catalog. The play-alongs, put them in Amazon and iTunes for $.99. When someone buys the them that way, they also get the lead sheet in C/Eb/Bb/Bass clef. Would I put them out as tomes like they are now? No. What I would do is fully embrace technology and develop an App that would allow purchases of new songs within it. So, if someone ends up buying 100 songs that Aebersold produces, then they will be within the app, easily searchable, indexed, etc. You could just display the Eb versions, or whatever. And allow annotations of the lead sheets (i.e. let people mark up the sheets if they want).

The App would also have a slowdown function, and the ability to loop sections. Heck, some of the FREE slowdown things on the iPhone/iPad do this already. The ability to change the pitch would also be included, as would the ability to record what you are playing and the ability to hear just what you did, or you with the track. And you can mix it when you are playing back. And send it to like Garageband if you wanted. Or get it out of the App. The annotations that you did you could send via email, or print, or make a PDF.

So, the base App would be free and include maybe a couple of freebee tracks to entice people. Then in-App purchases would be $.99 for a new song complete with Eb/Bb/C/Bass lead sheet.

Ok, that takes care of the legacy Play-Alongs, but what about all the books that they publish. I’m not sure how they would do as EPUBs like in the iBook store. They might do better as a Textbook created with iAuthor. I would think that most of these could be make into PDFs fairly easily. Regardless, they need to be digital. PDF would be great, EPUB if possible, or maybe even an App for each book (like Greg Fishman’s stuff). Though, I would think that if they went the App per book route, they could use the engine that the play-alongs use. Then everything would be all together and you don’t end up with 30 apps for everything.

I don’t know if Aebersold is planning this sort of thing, but they need to. All these sales emails has me concerned, and it just makes more sense. With the iPad continuing to be a huge hit……who wants to carry around huge books or Superscope devices when an iPad can all that and more….

NAMM 2012

There are a lot of interesting things announced at the NAMM show. Here are some of the ones I thought were interesting.

Behringer Pad-housing USB mixers

BehringerMixeriPad

iPad plus mixer? YES!

Premium 32-Input 4/2-Bus Mixer with iPAD Docking Station, XENYX Mic Preamps & Compressors, KLARK TEKNIK Multi-FX Processor, Wireless Option and USB/Audio Interface

Technological Innovation, Seamless Integration The Apple iPad has opened a Pandora’s Box of opportunity for musicians. The iX docking station will send signal both two and from your iPad with a wide range of routing options. Tap into the hundreds of music apps including our own FX Processor that lets you dig deeper into your mic with top-notch EQs, studio-quality compressors and reverbs, plus a spectrum analyzer. With a wide variety to choose from in the app store, you can record to Garage Band, tune and monitor your rig through the room analyzer mic input, and more. The opportunities are endless.

 

Sounds cool to me.

 

Wait, another iPad mixer thing……but from Mackie?

MackieMixeriPad

 

With 16 boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps and the performance of 24bit Cirrus Logic® AD/DA converters, you have unparalleled sound quality. Seamless wired to wireless iPad control means you can mix from anywhere in the venue. This gives you the mobile freedom to control not only the mix, but powerful plug-ins like EQ, dynamics, effects and more. The sleek DL1608 even supports up to 10 iPad devices. Forget bulky consoles and racks of gear. The power is at your fingertips.

 

Wait, wasn’t the iPad just a fad? Hmm…..

 

 

 

 

 

Thunderbolt accessories??

UAD

Apollo offers compatibility with Intel’s new Thunderbolt technology, as found on the newest iMacs, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and next-generation PCs. 
Available via a user-installable dual-port Thunderbolt I/O Option Card (sold separately), Thunderbolt provides lower latency, reduced audio buffer size, improved performance, and greater UAD plug-in instances versus FireWire. And because Thunderbolt offers many times the bandwith of FireWire, it allows music producers to connect numerous devices in series with the Apollo interface — including hard drives, processors, and additional computer monitors — all with fast, flawless performance.

 

 

Apogee1

Symphony 64 | Thunderbolt

64 Channel Thunderbolt connection for Apogee Symphony I/O

 

Connect Symphony I/O to any Thunderbolt™ equipped Mac for true Thunderbolt compatibility and performance. Symphony | 64 Thunderbolt will also connect X-Symphony equipped AD-16X, DA-16X, Rosetta 800 and Rosetta 200 converters to Thunderbolt Macs.

 

Two iPad Goodies

There are a lot of accessories out for the iPad that a musician can use. Two that have caught my attention. The Digitech iPB-10 which slashgear had a review of

This week the the DigiTech iPB-10 has been revealed, a digital pedalboard which will allow your iPad to play host to several music pedals at once. Inside with your iPad running the official app for this device as its plugged into the device itself, you’ll have access to 87 different pedals, 54 amplifiers, and 26 cabinets, all at a flick of your finger. What more could you want? And don’t say a DJ station, because that’s separate, and we’ve done that before as well — read on for guitar iPad action!

iPB10

This thing sounds awesome if you are a guitar player or a EWI effects addict (raises hand meekly). Except…..$499. Though it sounds like it works without the iPad in it, so, you could have presets all ready and not have to put the iPad in there. This thing also has it’s own DSP chips so the quality of sound and perhaps latency might be better. But still…..maybe $299 would be a better price point?

 

The second piece of gear is the Alesis iO Dock. This thing is $199, and has phantom powered mic inputs, quarter inch outputs, pedal input, headphones. And it works with Garageband, so you can record or whatever you want on it. This sounds amazing and is on my Christmas list this year. XLR inputs means you should be able to hook your sax up and start using effects with this baby.

By the way, Garageband is a MUST HAVE iPhone/iPad/iTouch app. It works on all three now. $5.

Uniquesquared.com had an excellent review of it using Garageband.

Top Ten reasons how Steve Jobs accomplishments have changed Music Education.

Some interesting things. I think the biggest accomplishment is making it accessible, easy, and legal. Accessible in that you can now find all sorts of music in iTunes. And sample them. And buy them easily and legally. And he (and Apple) also made music accessible by bundling GarageBand with Macs……for free. GarageBand is a great little recording program, and tutorial program for Guitar and Piano. PLUS…..there is the iPad. Which you can now take just about your whole library of sheet and audio music with you. Anywhere. And now with iCloud, you can have access to just about everything you own (up to I think 30K songs) via the internet.

Remember the Microsoft’s entry into Music? Yeah, me either…..Thanks Steve Jobs!

Top Ten reasons how Steve Jobs accomplishments have changed Music Education.:

Written by Larry Marra of musicteachers911.com
I know that many of you mourn the passing of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers.

I would like to take just a moment to reflect on how his contributions to music education have affected Music Education over the last 30 years.

Here’s what teaching music was like for me in 1976 (before computers).

1. I would write and arrange music by hand with an ink pen on staff paper.

2. I taught general music with chalk and record player.

3. I would have to wind the metronome before checking tempos

4. I created letters on a manual typewriter and used white-out instead of the delete key.

5. I carried a pocket calendar from the bank and a miniature golf pencil around for scheduling.

(Via Music Education Magic)

Superscope Elevation (Stay away…..zombies!)

So I get the Jamey Aebersold jazzbooks emails. In their latest “Economic Stimulus Sale!” one, at the bottom something got my interest. Elevation Software play-along offer. Hmm…sounded interesting. So I decided to go to the site, www.superscopetechnologies.com and check it out. Downloaded the demo for Mac…..and then the disappointment happened.

$149 for this piece of crap? That is all I can really think of after using the demo. Let me list the disappointment for you shall I?

1. Drag and Drop works….but not for AAC (m4a files) formatted files. So, anything that you get off of iTunes or perhaps have already ripped into AAC format (which is BETTER than mp3) won’t work with the program.
2. The IMPORT dialogue box is NOT mac like at all. I dunno where they got it, but it looks like a Linux box. So, I don’t have access to my sidebar favorites, nor can I use my Default Folder program to navigate to my files.
3. The program crashes like it is in a demolition derby. I mean, I maybe got it to work twice correctly. And I’m still on 10.6.8.

So, why would I spend this much money when programs like The Amazing Slowdowner, or Transcribe! can do what this program does at half the price. And they don’t CRASH! And support AAC files.

People, avoid this software at all costs. AT ALL COSTS. DO NOT GET IT. STAY AWAY. Imagine it is Zombie-fied and going to eat your brains if you download it.

On a side note, I kind of wish Jamey Aebersold would release his play-alongs in a APP format that includes the books and a way to slowdown/speed up, record, and put the songs in other keys. I think Aebersold is missing and/or has missed the boat in this. Instead of selling physical CDs and books, embrace technology. Make an iPad app that has say volume 1, with the tunes, with a metronome. That perhaps you can drop out the piano and bass or whatever. That you can change the pitch and speed of. That sells for the same price in the App store. You’d sell more, and you would ditch the printing and cd costs. The 30% or something Apple would take is easily less than what it actually costs to make the books, cds, and do the packaging.

Giving Up On GigBook/ForScore/unRealBook in Favor of GoodReader

When the iPad came out, I saw the perfectness for using it as a digital binder for music. All the PDFs I have scanned, exercises I’ve done and complied. There are several programs I own to display music. ForScore, unRealBook, and Deepdish GigBook.

However, they all don’t work like how I want. For example, Deepdish GigBook, my favorite of the bunch, has no support for DropBox or anyway to add PDFs other than via iTunes. I like the Binders and Set Lists it has, but not that much. Plus, it doesn’t do Annotations (still….been promised for months now) nor does it remember where you were in previous PDFs.

ForScore…..has more options, and I LOVE the annotations. Actually, I’d pretty much be happy with this one as my music PDF viewer except that it doesn’t remember where you were, and that it doesn’t support bookmarks that are embedded in PDFs (neither does GigBook). If it had support for DropBox and a Binder/SetList thing like GigBook I would use it more.

unRealBook….Honestly, if I could get my money back, I would ask for a refund. The interface is needs work. It has a couple of cool features, but I never use it. Maybe it has some of the things the other two programs have. I dunno.

So, why is GoodReader for iPad better? Lets see, DropBox support, Annotations, you can have MULTIPLE PDFs open at the same time. It REMEMBERS where you were. You can SYNC a folder….like say via DropBox. Oh, and if you have PDFs that you put Bookmarks on (via Adobe Acrobat not Preview….there is a difference), it will display those.

Oh, plus it gets updated all the time. I can’t remember when unRealBook showed up in my App Store updates. Gigbook too. No clue. ForScore had a minor update a week or two ago.

So, after using all these programs…..get GoodReader for iPad.

Best Practices For Preparing Music for an iPad

I spent most of new years day going through binders and either scanning or shredding (sometimes both) music I have. I was amazed at how many binders of things I had, and a LOT of it consisted of my II-V patterns and various exercises I wrote for myself.

Anyhow, if I had the finale file to something I had in the binder, I shredded the paper version and proceeded to tweak the finale file to better take advantage of the iPad. Here is what I learned.

First, you can make the margins practically nothing. In one version of my II-V patterns I have it formatted for a double sided printer so whatever side the holes are to be on, it is 0.5″ from the end of the page on the right and 0.75 on the left (to allow for holes). On an iPad, you can set that to 0.1 all around. The results are quite stunning.

Standard Page with 0.5 Margins

Page with 0.1 Margins on Right and Left

Second, I was able to enlarge the size of the music with 0.1 margins. The result is a page that takes advantage of the iPad’s display, and is easier to read than the pain Jane dumping a standard page to PDF to iPad. So, a note to all you people providing stuff out on the web and who are iPad or Tablet enthusiasts…..you need to reformat your PDFs. It doesn’t take much, and in Finale it was simply making a new Part and then tweaking the layout. About 3 to 5 minutes of work for something that looks a lot better.

Here are the patterns formatted for iPad. I will be doing a mass update of files to include iPad versions. Enjoy.

  Random II-V Patterns - Bb (iPad) (4.9 MiB, 59 hits)
You do not have permission to download this file.

unRealBook vs. GigBook

I received some iTunes gift cards from students this year, same as in previous years, and I decided to use some of them on two iPad apps that a lot of people have been buzz about, unRealBook ($4.99) and Gigbook ($4.99).

Let me start off by saying that both programs absolutely suck on how you get stuff into them. Part of that is Apple’s fault. It would be nice if Apple would allow access to the area where iBooks are being stored, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment, though they now allow Apps to talk to iTunes and play music from your library which unRealBook does. It would be idea for both of these developers to come up with something to allow easy importing/syncing of PDFs. I suppose one could use DropBox.

A slicker alternative, PadSync ($9.99) works great. Strangely enough on yet another iPad Music reading App recommended it. Yet, this too doesn’t really offer anything I really want. I would LIKE to have say a folder called SaxBooks and have ONE of these programs, when I sync to iTunes or run some syncing program, update any changes or additions. Is that so much to ask? Hence, this is why I really like using iBooks. It syncs to iTunes, and I can keep all my PDFs in iTunes, tag them, etc.

Moving on past the pain in the butt that is putting files on you iPad into one of these programs, what can you expect? Which one works better? First, lets look at Gigbook. This is a slick program. You can organize scores into Binders, make set lists, organize by composers, genre, key, tempo, time. You can make it part of a Collection so you can bookmark 400 page PDF fake books for songs. It feels like a proper iPad App, like my favorite iPad App Reeder.

UnRealBook has a lot of neat features. You can draw on your music, different pens, colors, etc. Save it. Undo it. Email the changes. Very cool. You can link a PDF to a song in your iTunes library and play it. VERY COOL. You can export Pages, send files via Bluetooth, Get files from DropBox or a URL, email PDFs, pages. There are lots of things you can do. However, the navigation around the program isn’t very “iPad-like”. Plus, once you’ve gotten used to the Binders and Collections that GigBook has…..

It’s a tough call to pick a winner. Feature wise, unRealBook is the best. The ability to mark up your PDFs and play things out of your iTunes library and attach those things to PDFs. Total thumbs up. Gigbook needs to step up and have these things. Interface wise, Gigbook is clearly the best. And the Collections and Binders are pretty invaluable…….

Winner…..Gigbook. Of the two, it is the one that is really the best thought out and implemented. If unRealBook redid its interface, and implemented something similar to Binders and Collections, then it would be the winner.

Couple of notes:
Both programs work with the Airturn BT-105 (seriously, who the hell names these things).
Both programs DO NOT and SHOULD read PDF fields like Title, Author, Subject and Keywords that are in PDFs. I take the time to tag my PDFs, it would be nice for these programs to read them.
Both programs should be able to read and use bookmarks in PDFs. Seriously, I bookmark important PDFs or RealBooks I have in PDF format.
Both programs should allow cropping of PDFs. After I did this experiment, it can really help make things more readable.
Both programs should have contrast controls, like GoodReader.
Either Apple or these guys really should find a way to access PDFs in iBooks or come up with some easy way to manage PDFs between the Mac and iPad.
AND it would be nice to have TEXT searching in PDFs. Programs like GoodReader allow this, and for 400 Page RealBooks, it would make finding a song easier.

So, Gigbook. Now if someone wants to send me forScore 2 ($4.99) to play with………I might have to revisit all this (HINT HINT). Or if GoodReader had a few of the features of Gigbook and unRealBook (Binders, ability to draw on PDFs).

iPad in Education

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
“Before, during and even between classes at Hillbrook School this fall, seventh-graders have been spotted on the Los Gatos campus, sometimes burbling Spanish or Mandarin phrases into the glowing screen in their hands, other times staring into it like a looking glass,” Bruce Newman reports for The Mercury News.

“iPads — the Apple of almost every adolescent’s eye — are being provided to students at several Bay Area public and private schools this year, including Hillbrook, which claims to be the only K-8 school in America using tablet computers in class and sending them home,” Newman reports. “This has led to a lot of 12-year-olds swanning around the wooded hillside campus, talking to their iPads.”

It just makes sense. It’s cheaper, more “green”, and more efficient. Now imagine having all your music books in an iPad. Or all that Lit and Analysis stuff accessible instantly. Or having some great ear training Apps to help with sight singing. Soon……it’s happening as we speak…..

Best Practices To Scan Old Books into PDFs

Yes, the iPad is amazing. Ok, sure, there are some other makers coming out with devices too. Regardless of what you get, you are probably at some point going to want to convert some of your tattered books into digital format. But how? What should I use?

Fear not, here are some guidelines to do it as I’ve converted quite a few of my old books that were falling apart into excellent PDFs. First, you need a scanner. A sheet feed scanner on something like a Brother 7340. I used a Brother 7420 myself, and it works great. Good Macintosh support. You could use a lot of other different solutions as well, but you really need to have a sheetfeeder scanner (ie: you can put 20+ pages on it and let it do it’s stuff).

Second, you need some sort of paper cutter to cut the bindings off, and any books that are oversized (like Rubank) need to be trimmed a little to fit in the scanner’s sheetfeeder. You can use scissors I suppose, but a paper cutter is easier, cleaner, and does it better.

For scanning, I’ve found that 300dpi B&W uncompressed TIFF is the way to go. I don’t do JPG or compressed TIFF because I am going to let the PDF part of the process do all the compression when I’m ready. I put in a stack of pages in the sheet feeder, and have it go. When its done, then I put the other side through the scanner. When that is all done, I go through the scans and number them (01…09….20….etc) and make sure that the scanner didn’t take two or more pages in by mistake (it will happen) and to see that they pages have all the stuff on the page (as in nothing was cut off during the scan). The cover and back I’ll generally use the flatbed scanner on the unit to make color scans. The covers are usually thicker anyways and don’t go through the feeder well (if at all).

Ok, so, now you have all these TIFFs, I use Adobe Acrobat to assemble them (“Combine Files into PDF”). The middle setting (lower right filesize) is the setting I use, into a Single PDF file. You also need to make sure the pages are in order then go.

Acrobat will then assemble all the files together, and display the result. Now, the next thing to do, which is why I use Acrobat, is to use the Tools->Recognize Text. Why you say? Well, it does OCR any text in the PDF, which is helpful if you need to search something, but it also will do things like straighten any crooked pages and stuff. Little things that will make your PDF look great. So run it. When it is done, then do an Apple-D and type in info for the PDF like the title, author, some key words. Then save.

Done! Now you have a nice digital copy for yourself. It is really great using the iPad to practice with, it remembers where you were in each PDF, and you can make bookmarks (which can transfer to your computer), etc. Notes. Great stuff. Here is an example page