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#2164467 - 10/10/13 02:23 PM Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use!  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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So I've got me a piano. I've got me a bunch of piano books. And I've got me my trusty pencil that sits there on the piano with which I write on my piano books things that I like to write. Things very similar to what you write in YOUR piano scores.

Now, I also have an iPad. I have dropbox on it, and in said dropbox is a music folder in which I save pdfs that I've downloaded from places like ISMLP, etc. I have a little app on the iPad that has access to my dropbox and gives me some great little tools like the ability to write on the score with my finger or a capacitive touch stylus.

Which is nice.

However, I hate the size. In portrait mode, the music is too small for my liking, and in landscape mode, I'm just constantly scrolling.

So I came up with the brilliant idea of simply using my laptop with the music stand folded down. Certainly better, but the height of my 13" laptop screen is not nearly as high as a book. Plus, the lack of touchscreen means I'm very unlikely to write anything in.

So my first idea was this:

Accept that my iPad isn't going to be my piano tablet. Buy the cheapest Android tablet I could find that had a large screen size. Unfortunately, I found that tablets basically max out at 11 inches, save for a few monsters at 13 inches, and with high prices for those.

So I ditched that idea.

But now I'm thinking this way:

an external TOUCHSCREEN monitor, approximately 24", attached to my macbook which will sit off to the side of the piano. Capacitive stylus replaces pencil on the piano stand and the monitor, without stand, of course, simply sits on the piano as a book would. There are PLENTY of flat screen monitors that are at least as thin and light as your standard Henle book.

24" to me seems like a good standard size. Close to what you'd need to display two pages of piano music like an open book. I know most piano score books are slightly larger than normal, but if you assume a page of music to be 8.5" by 11", double the width, do your a-squared+b-squared=c-squared, you've got a monitor with a diagonal size that puts you somewhere in the range of 24".

Attach said monitor easily to macbook (hdmi? Probably needs to be usb to transmit touch information...), and you're up and running, yes?

Open the pdfs in acrobat or even just your standard pdf viewer program, and annotate away with the stylus. I haven't yet thought through my software ideal.

At the end, all I have to do is pluck the hdmi cable out of the macbook, turn off the screen and walk away. My computer is back to being a computer, and my piano and its monitor stay in place for my next practice session.

Given that I have everything else already, this can't cost me more than a few hundred dollars and considering I spent more than that on my piano LAMP, I'm thinking this can't be a terrible idea.

Thoughts?

Last edited by TwoSnowflakes; 10/10/13 02:32 PM.
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#2164471 - 10/10/13 02:30 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Weeellll, it ain't just "a few hundred dollars" but here's one option at $599:

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-S24C770T-24-Inch-LED-Lit-Monitor/dp/B00CWJGGIM

[Linked Image]

#2164478 - 10/10/13 02:51 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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If you do not wish to shell out $600 for a 24-inch touchscreen why not just get a $60 Wacom Bamboo pen tablet, attach it to your MacBook, put the pair on your music desk and voila! you can annotate scores to your heart's content. That's the option I use.
Wacom Bamboo


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
#2164480 - 10/10/13 03:08 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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BruceD Offline
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I think I'll just stick to my Henle scores, thank you!

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
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#2164483 - 10/10/13 03:15 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: BruceD]  
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jazzyprof Offline
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Come on, Bruce, that's so...20th century!


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
#2164487 - 10/10/13 03:34 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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I know, I know, Bruce. I'm quite ambivalent about this, in the true sense of the word. I so love the feel of those good editions. I love browsing in music stores, flipping through them, and ultimately playing from them. I like the feel of the pages when I turn them. But at the same time, I am a total tech geek, too.

Sadly, what will ultimately happen is that I will do both: buy a stupid expensive solution to a problem I only transiently have, and still buy the good paper editions.


#2164490 - 10/10/13 03:38 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: jazzyprof]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
If you do not wish to shell out $600 for a 24-inch touchscreen why not just get a $60 Wacom Bamboo pen tablet, attach it to your MacBook, put the pair on your music desk and voila! you can annotate scores to your heart's content. That's the option I use.
Wacom Bamboo


But, but, jazzy....that doesn't net me a big beautiful HD touchscreen!

*sigh*

You're probably right. Though I can solve this problem of my MacBook's screen being too small by simply attaching my old 19" Samsung monitor to it, sans stand.

Maybe that's the interim solution. If I find I really do use it the way I feel like I want to want to do, then I'll shell out the big bucks. Further googling has yielded an Acer touchscreen at more like $400 that also would do the trick, it seems. And who knows, maybe by then the prices will go down on them.

Wacom it is.

#2164491 - 10/10/13 03:38 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: jazzyprof]  
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BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Come on, Bruce, that's so...20th century!


That is the century in which I was born and in which I will have lived most of my life when the final reckoning comes, regardless of how much time is left in this one.

It's easier for me to just grab my clearly-printed, well-bound Henle off the shelf, open it and sit down and play than it is to

- move my laptop to the piano
- squint to read a page that is half the size of a standard score (increasing the size means I can see only half a page at a time and scrolling every few measures becomes unproductive)
- invest in technology that enables me to write on a tablet when the few (very, very few) marks I ever put on my scores can be done with a light pencil that is always handy (... and I don't have to worry about losing the added notations by accident)
- remember to program my laptop or newly-bought tablet so it doesn't enter "sleep" or "hibernate" mode while I'm in the middle of reading a ten-minute Largo

I am not a technophobe, so when the time comes that these inconveniences are addressed and it becomes as easy to work from a screen as it does from a printed page, then you can welcome me in to that century, whichever one it happens to be.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
#2164497 - 10/10/13 03:56 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: BruceD]  
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jazzyprof Offline
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Originally Posted by BruceD

- squint to read a page that is half the size of a standard score (increasing the size means I can see only half a page at a time and scrolling every few measures becomes unproductive)

You can increase the size and set your Acrobat pdf view to automatically scroll at a rate that's under your control. It's soooo cool watching the score scroll slowly up the screen as if by magic. grin


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
#2164623 - 10/10/13 09:59 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: BruceD]  
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wr Offline
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Originally Posted by BruceD

It's easier for me to just grab my clearly-printed, well-bound Henle off the shelf, open it and sit down and play than it is to

- move my laptop to the piano
- squint to read a page that is half the size of a standard score (increasing the size means I can see only half a page at a time and scrolling every few measures becomes unproductive)
- invest in technology that enables me to write on a tablet when the few (very, very few) marks I ever put on my scores can be done with a light pencil that is always handy (... and I don't have to worry about losing the added notations by accident)
- remember to program my laptop or newly-bought tablet so it doesn't enter "sleep" or "hibernate" mode while I'm in the middle of reading a ten-minute Largo



You left out the part of having to scan your Henle and convert it to some format you could use on the touchscreen. Because many (probably most) of the really good editions are still under copyright, you will not find them legally available on IMSLP (you may find some as commercial downloads, though).


#2164794 - 10/11/13 10:11 AM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: BruceD]  
Joined: Mar 2012
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slipperykeys Offline
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slipperykeys  Offline
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Dorset, England
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Come on, Bruce, that's so...20th century!


That is the century in which I was born and in which I will have lived most of my life when the final reckoning comes, regardless of how much time is left in this one.

It's easier for me to just grab my clearly-printed, well-bound Henle off the shelf, open it and sit down and play than it is to

- move my laptop to the piano
- squint to read a page that is half the size of a standard score (increasing the size means I can see only half a page at a time and scrolling every few measures becomes unproductive)
- invest in technology that enables me to write on a tablet when the few (very, very few) marks I ever put on my scores can be done with a light pencil that is always handy (... and I don't have to worry about losing the added notations by accident)
- remember to program my laptop or newly-bought tablet so it doesn't enter "sleep" or "hibernate" mode while I'm in the middle of reading a ten-minute Largo

I am not a technophobe, so when the time comes that these inconveniences are addressed and it becomes as easy to work from a screen as it does from a printed page, then you can welcome me in to that century, whichever one it happens to be.

Regards,


Says it all for me too, I tried HDMI adaptors. two screens, one screen, landscape, portrait.

Then I bought a £12.95 music stand, adjusted to the height I like and I am sure I am better at remembering music from print than screen.

In fact, I didn't actually manage to memorise anything from screen, for some reason.

"So 20th Century..." for me reads, "Best yet!"

#2164839 - 10/11/13 11:20 AM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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Michael Sayers Offline
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Michael Sayers  Offline
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Stockholms län, Sverige
Let's see . . . an advantage of the hard drive, motherboard and monitor, is that much less space, weight and expense are needed than with endless reams of paper and sturdy book cases . . . an advantage of the paper and ink is that it never breaks and there are no hard disks to become corrupted, and maybe it is easier on the eyes with good lighting.

I'll stick with the paper and ink format!


M.

#2164890 - 10/11/13 01:49 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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TimV Offline
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I understand the desire to use technology. I also know that I'm usually on the very trailing edge when it comes to adopting it myself.

I probably have about 48" worth of scores if I stacked them all on top of each other. And I have my pencil. And I like it this way. However I have an electronic metronome because, I mean, why not?

I think you could reconsider your iPad in landscape mode if you invested in one of these:

http://airturn.com/

I saw a pianist use this with her iPad performing a solo transcription of the Rite of Spring, a couple of months ago. At least if you have one of these you could never blame your page turner again!


--------------------------
Bach WTC 1 #7
Brahms Op 76 #1, Op 118 #5
Debussy Suite Bergamasque
#2164980 - 10/11/13 06:02 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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de cajon Offline
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London, UK
I have to say I find a touch screen to be of limited use. I have a weird bit of kit: an Open Labs Neko. I got it on the strength (as per another thread hereabouts) of an interview with Keith (Emerson) and Keith (Wechsler).

It has a touch screen built in to the main unit. But this touch screen is of strictly limited use. It's handy for live use; and that's about it. I find that I'm damned glad there's a auxillary output to which I can attach a regular monitor for day in, day out use. There's very little I find I can do accurately with the touch screen.

As long as there is something like the live VST host's offering of large screen buttons, I'm OK. But for anything like DAW recording sessions or Sibelius scoring, or even just trying to select files in Explorer, it's hopeless.

_______________________________________
Yamaha C3X SH (and Open Labs Neko XXL)

#2165000 - 10/11/13 06:54 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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Sam S Offline
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes

At the end, all I have to do is pluck the hdmi cable out of the macbook, turn off the screen and walk away. My computer is back to being a computer, and my piano and its monitor stay in place for my next practice session.

Thoughts?


What happens when I need to go to a lesson? Or play a different piano? Its much easier to carry a book than laptop and screen...

Sam

#2165237 - 10/12/13 10:58 AM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: Sam S]  
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slipperykeys Offline
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes

At the end, all I have to do is pluck the hdmi cable out of the macbook, turn off the screen and walk away. My computer is back to being a computer, and my piano and its monitor stay in place for my next practice session.

Thoughts?


What happens when I need to go to a lesson? Or play a different piano? Its much easier to carry a book than laptop and screen...

Sam


I don't think anybody is writing off an advantage that may be gained through technology. Perhaps as new generations come along, used to using screens and so on, the use of printed paper will die out.

But I have seen tutorials where the recommendation is to, "print of the 5 sheets and stick them together so that you have them all open to read and they will run the length of the piano..." from the likes of Paul Barton.

He is GOOD, but more my generation.

Either way, the chances are that the perfect technological answer does not yet exist.

Compared to paper and ink it is still in its infancy, so it can't really come as too much of a surprise to many that there is a list of improvements to be made to get the best out of it for all of us.

#2165356 - 10/12/13 05:06 PM Re: Who wants to talk tech? Touchscreen monitors for piano use! [Re: slipperykeys]  
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Emanuel Ravelli Offline
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Originally Posted by slipperykeys
I don't think anybody is writing off an advantage that may be gained through technology. Perhaps as new generations come along, used to using screens and so on, the use of printed paper will die out.

But I have seen tutorials where the recommendation is to, "print of the 5 sheets and stick them together so that you have them all open to read and they will run the length of the piano..."


I'm no technophobe either -- have been using computers for 20 years and am about to launch into an ambitious digital video editing project. But the "tape your pages together" solution has worked best for me.

For some months, I was looking for a convertible a tablet with a screen size of at least 13 inches that would allow me to display PDF scores large enough for my aging eyes to see, annotate them (preferably in different colors) with a stylus, and "turn" pages either by swiping a touch screen or using a foot pedal Bluetooth device like the AirTurn. But I finally decided against that for a variety of reasons, including: (i) battery dying, screen freezing or system crashing in the middle of a performance, (ii) hard drive dying before I'd backed up everything, resulting in loss of hours worth of practice work notations, (iii) risk of theft or screen glass breakage, (iv) pedaling errors caused by the confusion of having 4 foot pedals (including the AirTurn) to operate, and (v) high cost (the Fujitsu LifeBook was the only model I found that offered all of these advantages, and it's very expensive.

For my last public performance, I simply copied the pages of my hand-annotated score, taped them together in groups of 4, and (in the case of longer pieces) pulled them off the music desk every 4 pages and dropped them on the floor. This looks weird and takes some practice, but it's easier than turning bound pages and hoping the book stays on the music desk. (No, I don't care for memorizing.) At least until the techies come up with a way to accomplish this electronically that solves these problems, I'll keep doing it the old-fashioned way.


Phil Bjorlo

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