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What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? #2640238
05/05/17 10:14 AM
05/05/17 10:14 AM
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Rosewood17 Offline OP
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For those of you who use iPad apps, I would appreciate your input on which size iPad you would recommend for someone who is considering purchasing one.

The new 9.7 inch iPad is considered the best "value," but the largest one (12.9 inch) would be the size of paper sheet music. Do you have trouble seeing the notes on the standard size iPad? Does anyone use a mini? Did anyone pay the extra money for the largest one? It seems like the notes would be fairly small on the standard size. Or do programs allow you to change the note size?

When I looked at iPads yesterday I googled images of sheet music and looked at them on the different sizes. The largest one was clearly the best, but was MUCH more expensive. Do you get used to the tiny notes on the standard size iPad?

Thanks a lot!



Roland LX-7
Started lessons in April, 2017
In progress: Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 2 | Fundamentals of Piano Theory - Level 2 | Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises
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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640251
05/05/17 10:44 AM
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I actually bought a 9.7" and loaded some software on it. I could read it but just barely. Also, some music is not as clear as I would like.

After agonizing over it for a couple days, I ended up returning it and buying a 12.9" Ipad. You're right, it's stupidly expensive but my wife convinced me that music is a huge part of my life and you only live once. I have about 1600 separate pieces scanned in now, many if not most, are multiple pages so I have well over that many pages scanned in. I also bought an Airturn PED pedal for turning pages, there are several others.

I'm happy with it now and it's just about all I use.

My advice is, don't skimp, it's pretty expensive no matter what route you take.

Last edited by Roger Ransom; 05/05/17 10:45 AM.

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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640265
05/05/17 10:59 AM
05/05/17 10:59 AM
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I agree - The best idea is to get the larger iPad Pro.

However, as a lower cost option, you can always view your scores in landscape mode on the smaller iPad - at least if you use the ForScore App. While the score appears bigger that way, you will need to turn the page twice a often.

Don't even consider the iPad Mini for this. I own one of each type of iPad(Mini, 9.7 inch, and 12.9 inch), so I know of what I speak!


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640322
05/05/17 12:49 PM
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I've been holding off to update to the new iPad Pro 12.9" when it comes out. Rumors say that it should be here sometime soon. Next scheduled Apple event is WWDC, keynote on June 5th.

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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640349
05/05/17 01:16 PM
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Well, that is VERY helpful! I had actually decided to get the larger one at the store, but then when the salesman went to get one they were completely sold out. I looked online, but Apple's shipping date for the 12.9 inch is 2-3 weeks. Then the more I thought about it, the more I started having second thoughts about getting the larger one & wondered if I should just get the 9.7 inch, which is available now and much less expensive.

Based on all of your comments, however, I think I WILL go with the 12.9 inch. If there is going to be a new one soon, I should definitely wait for that, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise that the current 12.9 inch was not available.

Looks like I just need to have some patience. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.


Roland LX-7
Started lessons in April, 2017
In progress: Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 2 | Fundamentals of Piano Theory - Level 2 | Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises
Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Roger Ransom] #2640352
05/05/17 01:20 PM
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Depends on how good your eyes are.

I have a 10" Fire tablet for my scores and have no problems at all seeing the score. On paper the 10" tablet is a bit larger than the 9.7" iPad, but in reality, because of the different aspect ratio, the iPad is actually better. Because its display width (in portrait orientation, i.e. on the short side) is larger than that of my 10" tablet. My tablet is "higher", in portrait mode, but that only means that I have unused black space at the bottom, because score sheets don't have a 16:9 aspect ratio. And my tablet doesn't even have a retina screen like the iPad.

So compared to my tablet, the iPad would be even better, and since my tablet works fine for me, the 9.7" iPad would too.

Btw, apps like Forescore and Mobilesheetspro all allow you to crop the white space around the score. So if you compare paper scores to the tablet display, you should not compare the actual paper size to the tablet display size, but the size of the printed area on the paper.

For example, a typical Henle sheet is 23cm wide. But the actually printed score on that sheet is only about 19.5cm. The same score on my tablet is about 13cm (on an iPad 9.7" I would estimate about 14cm).

So if you have good eye sight and budget is a consideration, the 9.7" iPad is certainly an option.

Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640371
05/05/17 02:04 PM
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I believe what JoBert says is absolutely true. I am 74 and my eyesight is not as good as it used to be of course. If you're young and/or your eyes still work great, I expect the 10" Fire or 9.7" Ipad would be fine.

It was marginal for me and my eyes probably will not be getting better any time soon :-)


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640375
05/05/17 02:17 PM
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If your goal is to just view PDFs there are many good options for large screen tablets running androids or windows ... I have this android Lenovo Yoga tablet 2 pro that is 13" and I think I paid $300 (It even has a projector inside). There are numerous large tablets from dell and lenovo (nobody really likes the big sizes...). Bonus is, it is a whole bunch of hoops for me to upload files to my ipad, with android or windows, this is just a simple affair.

But if you want to use it for making music etc, then ipad is hard to beat.


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640416
05/05/17 03:30 PM
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I'm 45 and reading a lead sheet or chord chart & lyrics on a little iPad, ok. But piano sheet music, note for note... especially classical or jazz transcriptions. No. I can do it but it's tiny and no good for extended practice or gigs that require reading details. A screen actually letter size paper is a must. Heck I'd love a screen 2 sheets wide to decrease page turns. But if all we have is 1 sheet, that will have to do for now. A company was doing a foldable 2 sheet e-ink style screen, but I hear they change image too slow and the screens don't last terribly long.

Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640440
05/05/17 04:46 PM
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Thank you for the additional comments. Nope, I am no longer young (turned 65 in March), so I am experiencing the beginnings of cataracts (according to my eye doctor), & my eyesight (with glasses) is no longer corrected to 20/20 (currently 20/25). What I don't understand is why these apps don't work on computers, as I have a perfectly good 15" MacBook Pro that is only a couple of years old. I am returning to taking piano lessons after many years now that I am retired. I am enjoying the process quite a bit; also liking my new Roland digital piano. Just hoping to take advantage of the new technology as I learn (the whole iPad saga was triggered by the fact that Roland Piano Partner 2 will not run on my MacBook Pro and is WAY to little on my iPhone 5s!).


Roland LX-7
Started lessons in April, 2017
In progress: Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 2 | Fundamentals of Piano Theory - Level 2 | Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises
Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640459
05/05/17 06:38 PM
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Hi Rosewood17. Go with the 12.9" iPad, much easier to read music. I too have ageing eyes,
no glasses or contacts, but I don't like using my 9.7" for music. Doesn't show enough of the music.
Unhappily I learned I needed an iPad after I bought my Kawai CA67 two years back.
Luckily I was able to find a 9.7" iPad Air2, 128GB for a fantastic price at a local electronics warehouse store.
The store gets its iPads from Costco. The iPads were returned to Costco by customers for whatever reason, and the store refurbishes them, in turn selling them at a significantly reduced price, plus a 1 year warranty. The Apple store here has several times helped me,
though I didn't buy from them, no charge. To date, no problems.
Check for such a store(s) in your area.


Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640472
05/05/17 07:38 PM
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Hi Again,

Yes, I do want the 12.9" iPad Pro, but if a new one is coming out within the next 6 months I want to wait for that rather than getting one now.

In the meantime, however, I still would like to be able to use Roland's Piano Partner 2, especially because it allows more direct access to some of the piano's settings than the controls on the piano do. So rather than continue to try to use my iPhone 5s (talk about a small screen!) I decided to do a "temporary fix" with a used iPad. I actually lucked out and found a used but pretty much pristine 32 GB 3rd gen iPad for an extremely good price today--so I will use that for Piano Partner 2 while waiting for the new 12.9" iPad to come out. Because this iPad is only 9.7" I probably won't mess around much with a lot of sheet music on it, but it will at least keep me from having to scroll through hundreds of little red numbers to get to a particular tone I want to work with (the "Piano" and "Other" tones are labeled in the Piano Partner 2 app, but they are not labeled on the RP-501R piano [they are just numbers in a list you scroll through], and there are >300 of them!).

I feel good about this decision. I haven't spent much money, I have a perfectly acceptable temporary solution, and I have something to look forward to (12.9" iPad at some point in the future). It's a win-win thanks to the help from this forum. smile


Roland LX-7
Started lessons in April, 2017
In progress: Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 2 | Fundamentals of Piano Theory - Level 2 | Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises
Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640543
05/06/17 03:39 AM
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I got the large iPad Pro when it came out (for a number of reasons) and I was delighted to see that you can display scores full size.

The four-speaker set up is also very nice for playing videos or VST (when traveling with a keyboard) or playing score from something like Kawai Touch-Note.

Apps like Kawai Touch-Note which are for writing music (I find that copying notes from paper to iPad helps me understand them better) are even more fun when you spend more money and buy the Apple pencil. Not a must-have, though.

So yes, if you can afford the 12.9 at all, get that one.


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640568
05/06/17 07:03 AM
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Will there be anything about the new one that even matters for your purposes?


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640575
05/06/17 07:27 AM
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There are better ways to turn score into playable music. Even on ipad you have notateme with photoscore - you snap a picture of a page and it will OCR it into a playable score... However I regularly use PhotoScore on PC - more options, but the ipad way is very fast.


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640636
05/06/17 10:52 AM
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I use the iPad Pro 12.9" with forscore. It's a dream. Also, buy the iPencil for easy notation!

Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Meaghanw] #2640641
05/06/17 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Meaghanw
I use the iPad Pro 12.9" with forscore. It's a dream. Also, buy the iPencil for easy notation!


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640659
05/06/17 12:13 PM
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What about the rumored 10.5 iPad Pro, would that do the trick?

Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Meaghanw] #2640662
05/06/17 12:19 PM
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It actually sort of turned into a nightmare to me for a while.

After I had about 800 scores scanned in I was loading another one when suddenly the screen returned to the introduction and ALL of my scores disappeared completely. All of them. The library names were still there but the scores were completely gone. I promptly panicked. I eventually recovered them from an ICloud backup. I'm happy it didn't occur during a gig. From now on I will always take some paper scores with me when I play out somewhere.

Apparently Apple does automatic backups when they feel like it and it can rarely cause some sort of glitch that can cause things like this to occur. It has happened to data in other apps too. Some guy in a forum had it happen to him during a formal presentation. Most people never have it happen but that doesn't mean it can't. Computers are just not 100% reliable no matter what brand.

This was a brand new IPad, A little scary.

Nevertheless, I'm sticking with it.


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640676
05/06/17 12:54 PM
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Roger Ransom: "Will there be anything about the new one that even matters for your purposes?"

Ha ha, good question! I can't get the 12.9" now anyway (even Apple is backordered by 2-3 weeks), so I might as well wait at least that long. I only spent $137.00 on this mint condition (absolutely no scratches, dents, or dings) 3rd generation 32 GB 9.7" iPad w/ screen protector, charger, earbuds, & case--so I can not only immediately use Piano Partner 2, but I can also try out some of the other programs recommended on this forum to see if I like them enough to want to see them on the "big screen." I don't really see it as wasted money in that I can give it to another family member when I get my new one.


Roland LX-7
Started lessons in April, 2017
In progress: Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 2 | Fundamentals of Piano Theory - Level 2 | Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises
Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640691
05/06/17 01:37 PM
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Sounds like a good plan to me.

Have fun.


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Roger Ransom] #2640694
05/06/17 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Ransom
It actually sort of turned into a nightmare to me for a while.

After I had about 800 scores scanned in I was loading another one when suddenly the screen returned to the introduction and ALL of my scores disappeared completely. All of them. The library names were still there but the scores were completely gone. I promptly panicked. I eventually recovered them from an ICloud backup. I'm happy it didn't occur during a gig. From now on I will always take some paper scores with me when I play out somewhere.

Apparently Apple does automatic backups when they feel like it and it can rarely cause some sort of glitch that can cause things like this to occur. It has happened to data in other apps too. Some guy in a forum had it happen to him during a formal presentation. Most people never have it happen but that doesn't mean it can't. Computers are just not 100% reliable no matter what brand.

This was a brand new IPad, A little scary.

Nevertheless, I'm sticking with it.


Unfortunate, but this is a computer technology issue. There is no system developed by any manufacturer that doesn't benefit from user backup - wether you use a cloud drive or backup to a laptop or desktop.

Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Roger Ransom] #2640697
05/06/17 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Ransom
Computers are just not 100% reliable no matter what brand.

True, but neither are paper scores. I bet there are a myriad horror stories about paper scores that were lost, or forgotten at home, or blown away by a gust of wind, or soaked by an unexpected rain, or chewed on by a dog, or whatever, just before that one, all important gig.

Nothing in life is 100% reliable (well, except for taxes and death, as they say).

Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640718
05/06/17 02:51 PM
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Yes, most of my working years were in IT. Never having owned an IPad before, the first thing I learned about was backup. I've seen too many disasters where lack of backup was the problem. I made sure I understood backup before I loaded my first score. The episode scared the jeebers out of me but the ICloud backup/restore did a great job and was easy to do in the end.

Good point about paper backup. I'll probably still put a Fake book in the car.

I love the iPad/forScore solution and was not scared off at all.


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640732
05/06/17 03:41 PM
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Can you turn off the network connection in an ipad? (I don't know -- I've never actually seen one.) I know that with any of the Android tablets that I've come across there is control panel entry that allows you to disable the networking.

If the issue is that an unexpected automatic backup is interrupting your session, turning the networking off should make that not happen. You can turn the networking back on again after the performance is over.


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640749
05/06/17 04:34 PM
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Mine is just wifi and you can turn it off at will.

That's a good idea. As a precaution from now on I'll turn it off when it would be critical.



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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640758
05/06/17 04:57 PM
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At a gig, I'd always want the iPad in Airplane mode, which prevents all kinds of potential interruptions, and also maximizes battery life if you're not plugged in.

Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640764
05/06/17 05:16 PM
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Wow, those are some good tips about backing things up and turning off the wifi when you are not using it. I have never had an iPad before; looks like I need to familiarize myself with some of the features beyond just using certain apps. Does it come with good built-in tutorials / manual or do I need to get an introductory book?


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Started lessons in April, 2017
In progress: Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 2 | Fundamentals of Piano Theory - Level 2 | Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises
Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640782
05/06/17 06:31 PM
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Roger Ransom Offline
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Roger Ransom  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,399
SouthWest Michigan
There are all kinds tutorials and help on Apple's site.

Also it really isn't all that different from Android.


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Re: What Size iPad for Digital Sheet Music & Other Apps? [Re: Rosewood17] #2640789
05/06/17 07:06 PM
05/06/17 07:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 324
United States
Rosewood17 Offline OP
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Rosewood17  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 324
United States
Thanks, I'll check out Apple's site for the tutorials. The only Android tablet I have is a small amazon Fire tablet (6"), which I use for reading books with color illustrations (such as books about quilting); I use my regular amazon Kindle for most books that I read. I've never even wanted an iPad before this, even though I am a "Mac person" (iPhone, MacBook Pro).


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