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#2710347 - 01/31/18 09:54 AM Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano  
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I'm trying to find a solution to the problem of having several pages of music spread out in front of me at the piano. I am only a fairly early intermediate player.

I'm thinking perhaps of a largish sized tablet with some variety of software that lets one display piano music. My teacher suggested taking pictures of the music and storing as JPG for example, and then using software that lets you display the JPG and then tap the screen to see the next one or something like that. Perhaps some naming convention is used so that it knows what page to display next. I think she said that Dropbox might offer something like this, or maybe it was to use Dropbox to take the pictures. I haven't investigated yet.

I am not good enough to have something that does continuous scrolling. There also needs to be a way to go backwards to a preceding page or two, for example to handle repeats.

As an older player I would probably need to use a larger screen size; my current tablet is probably too small. Also, I would want to see a full page of music at a time. I can't see having to scroll music up the screen as I am trying to play.

I would only be interested in an Android variety solution.

Thanks much!

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#2710353 - 01/31/18 10:10 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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I'd certainly avoid "dumb" file formats like JPG or PDF that merely store music as if it were a picture. Instead, look at the free MuseScore notation editing program. It lets you write or change the music any way you want. You can re-format to put page breaks where they're easy for you. The notation on screen is much clearer with MuseScore than JPG or PDF.






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#2710361 - 01/31/18 10:27 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: JohnSprung]  
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The music I have now is in paper format. It wouldn't be simple to find all of the music in some variety of electronic format. It is much simpler to just take pictures of the pages. My music teacher says that this is actually what she does at home, and she just taps the screen to move forward a page. The page breaks are the same as they are on the printed pages.

I'm just looking to see if there are some other methods since this is obviously not a new need for pianists (or wanna be piano players. :-) ).

I'm not looking for anything terribly fancy. (My ability (or lack thereof) doesn't warrant it.) Just looking to see what options might be available.

Last edited by RVDowning; 01/31/18 10:42 AM.
#2710364 - 01/31/18 10:46 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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I just photocopy the pages so they are single-sided, tape them together, and stand them all together on the music stand. This isn't a great solution for more than about four pages, however.

I find that spiral-bound books (whether original or made up of my copies) allow me to make reasonably smooth page turns on most music but, again, some music defeats this system.

If you photograph the pages and number them sequentially, some Android photo viewers will allow you to swipe from one page to the next. You don't necessarily need any special software for this.

I find that a tablet -- even a 12" one -- isn't large enough for music, although it may be fine for people with better eyesight. I have a laptop with a fold-over screen, which acts essentially like a 14" tablet; this is just about OK.

Personally, I find it much easier to play from printed music than any kind of display screen, but I understand many people get along perfectly well with screens.

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#2710366 - 01/31/18 10:58 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: kevinb]  
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Well, since a page is 8.5 x 11 it would seem that a 12 inch display would allow the music to be seen at its original size. Maybe the image can actually be enlarged a bit to get rid of the empty margins.

I think I prefer paper also, but I'm trying to find a better solution than taping, or having music books that won't stay open very well, etc. My current tablet is not full size, so it is hard for me to visualize how a larger display might look.

#2710367 - 01/31/18 11:02 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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A number of people here recommend the forScore app - I think you scan your music in as PDFs but then it can be fairly smart about how you edit and use it (I haven't used it myself though)

I occasionally play off a Surface tablet, which is bigger than an iPad and a reasonably useful size.

Mainly I am old-school and use paper.. A simple and surprisingly useful tip I got from my teacher is not to tape the pages together all the way down the side, just a little at the top and bottom of each join. It folds much better that way. Up to 4 pages it's fine, but as Kevin says, it's not great for more than that

#2710389 - 01/31/18 12:28 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Quote
Well, since a page is 8.5 x 11 it would seem that a 12 inch display would allow the music to be seen at its original size.


No. Remember that those measurements (12 inch display) is a diagonal measurement from corner to corner, i.e. upper left to lower right.

So a 8.5x11 sheet would require a 14 inch display to show at actual size.

VirtMus may meet your needs since it works with jpg files.


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Currently playing both kinds of music: Country and Western!
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#2710422 - 01/31/18 02:01 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: FrankCox]  
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Ah, of course. I wasn't thinking. BTW, the link didn't work. I think I'll check out forScore.

UPDATE. That is an iOS app. I use Android.

Thanks.

Last edited by RVDowning; 01/31/18 02:03 PM.
#2710426 - 01/31/18 02:18 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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I also use paper, but store my music on my computer and have a good file system. If you go this route, do not use jpg....use pdf as suggested above. A good phone with the Dropbox app will (for free) let you scan in high quality; do it in black and white to improve resolution. Then it can sync to a computer or to a tablet, and it stores in the cloud.

From there, you can use ForScore to organize if you want, it probably has a page turning function. It too is free or very inexpensive.


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#2710431 - 01/31/18 03:17 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Currently playing both kinds of music: Country and Western!
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#2710433 - 01/31/18 03:25 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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I can recommend the mentioned MobileSheetsPro app for Android. Have been using it for years now, and am very satisfied.

Best if combined with a Bluetooth foot pedal for page turns.

It handles all kinds of image formats, but I always use PDF, because then you can have a whole piece (or even book) in a single file. The app can also handle multi file pieces (for example if you have a JPG of each page), but a single PDF is more convenient to import.

And of course the app allows you to auto-crop the margins. So to get a comparable size of the actual score, you actually don't need a tablet of the same size as a paper page. On paper, there's a lot of wasted space in the margins.

PS the app also has a free companion app for Windows, which allows you to organize your library on the PC, if you want and, most importantly, allows you to easily make a backup of your whole library, including your annotations. Very important if you use the app a lot and don't want to lose your whole collection plus annotations if the tablet breaks or is lost or stolen.

Last edited by JoBert; 01/31/18 03:28 PM.
#2710680 - 02/01/18 02:30 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Ok folks, ordered the following:

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. I saw from a review that someone else had gotten one for the purpose of displaying music and was more than satisfied.

The PageFlip Butterfly bluetooth page turner.

And already got the following:

PlayScore Pro. (I am thinking of trying to use this to take pictures of music to take the music from the printed page to electronic format. I don't know if this is the best approach. Is there something better?) When a scanned image is created using this it saves it in three formats, jpg, mid and xml.

MobileSheets Pro Music Reader. It is going to take a while before I figure out how to use this.

Plus, I am not sure how to take a picture of a music page and have it saved in a pdf format. Guess I'll have to find something to convert it. Also, don't know if there is a way to take individual jpgs, perhaps converting each to a pdf, and then combining them into one file. So, still stuff to figure out.

Thanks everybody!

#2710724 - 02/01/18 05:24 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Imagemagick

You want to read the section on the convert command.

In its simplest form, put all of the jpg files that you want to include in the pdf into a directory, numbered in ascending order from the first page to last. The specific numbers or file names that you use aren't important but they must be in alphabetical or numerical order.

convert *.jpg myfile.pdf

Now you have myfile.pdf containing all of the jpg files in your directory.


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Currently playing both kinds of music: Country and Western!
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#2710735 - 02/01/18 06:03 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Read my post above. Get dropbox (free), on you phone or tablet, and snap a photo of it.....goes directly to pdf format if you choose this, in high quality. I have dozens of scores saved on dropbox, and it allows sync between devices. I use an iphone 7plus; the optics and resolution are perfect.

Oh..and choose black and white - comes out better than color with better resolution - and I always use my flash, as it prevents shadows on the page.

Last edited by cmb13; 02/01/18 06:04 PM.

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#2710910 - 02/02/18 10:14 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: FrankCox]  
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Originally Posted by FrankCox
Imagemagick

You want to read the section on the convert command.

In its simplest form, put all of the jpg files that you want to include in the pdf into a directory, numbered in ascending order from the first page to last. The specific numbers or file names that you use aren't important but they must be in alphabetical or numerical order.

convert *.jpg myfile.pdf

Now you have myfile.pdf containing all of the jpg files in your directory.


Interestingly, I see that MobileSheetsPro has a convert function, but it can only create JPGs from a PDF file.

I would also want to see how much more space the PDF file would take up as opposed to individual JPG files, since I know PDF files are much larger.

When testing MobileSheetsPro I accidentally misnumbered the JPG files, so that they were out of order for a particular piece of music. I found that I could rearrange the order in which the JPGs were played. I haven't found out how I would do something like that if they were all combined in one PDF

#2710915 - 02/02/18 10:27 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: cmb13]  
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Read my post above. Get dropbox (free), on you phone or tablet, and snap a photo of it.....goes directly to pdf format if you choose this, in high quality. I have dozens of scores saved on dropbox, and it allows sync between devices. I use an iphone 7plus; the optics and resolution are perfect.

Oh..and choose black and white - comes out better than color with better resolution - and I always use my flash, as it prevents shadows on the page.

I have DropBox, but don't know that that has to do with taking a photo. I did take photos of the music with my camera and moved the JPG items into DropBox where they remained as JPG files. Samsung also has this annoying feature of always assuming that the photo was taken in landscape mode, so I have to use software to rotate it back to portrait mode, which I presume I have to do individually to the JPG files before perhaps combining them into a PDF. I was using PlayScore Pro to take the photos.

#2710924 - 02/02/18 10:53 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Here's what I use:
  • iPad 12.9"
  • Apple Pencil
  • Butterfly pedal
  • ForScore app
    This app is specifically designed to help you organize, view, and navigate music pdfs, not just pdfs in general. Terrific app.
  • Microsoft OneDrive
    stores my digital music library, and ForScore signs into this for "cloud" access of files. This could easily be dropbox or some other service compatible with ForScore.
  • ScannerPro for iOS
    Quickly scan music using my iPhone camera. Has distortion correction, creates fast and clean scans for any music, uploads to OneDrive. I have stopped using a regular scanner to get my music into digital format. I don't know how I ever lived without this app.


Last edited by TwoSnowflakes; 02/02/18 10:57 AM.
#2710942 - 02/02/18 11:52 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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@RVDowning: With Mobilesheets, if you have the score in jpg, I wouldn't bother to convert to PDF first. I recommend that because that's how I use it, but then again, my scanner delivers me the PDF ready to use. If I had individual jpgs, I probably would simply import them as is.

The app allows you to combine multiple image files into a single "song", so in the end you won't see a difference between importing a combined PDF or multiple jpgs. Oh, and you can do the orientation rotation and cropping right there in the app too. So, just snap your jpgs, import them, and do the rest in Mobilesheets.

#2710952 - 02/02/18 12:30 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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In the dropbox app on iPhone, there is a little + on the bottom that states create. If you click that you can scan a document. Again I recommend turning on the flash with the button on the top right. After that you can choose black and white, and then choose to let it save as a PDF. You can add pages to it to make it multiple pages long and it will be contained in one file. The memory size is not excessive. PDFs are actually quite efficient


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#2710979 - 02/02/18 01:47 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: JoBert]  
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Originally Posted by JoBert
@RVDowning: With Mobilesheets, if you have the score in jpg, I wouldn't bother to convert to PDF first. I recommend that because that's how I use it, but then again, my scanner delivers me the PDF ready to use. If I had individual jpgs, I probably would simply import them as is.

The app allows you to combine multiple image files into a single "song", so in the end you won't see a difference between importing a combined PDF or multiple jpgs. Oh, and you can do the orientation rotation and cropping right there in the app too. So, just snap your jpgs, import them, and do the rest in Mobilesheets.


It is a brilliant bit of software. I'm finding bits and pieces as I muddle through it.

I found the orientation bit after digging through the 152 page pdf documentation. I see bits about taking a picture from within MobileSheetsPro, but it seems that you have to be editing a song to do that, which leaves me puzzled as to how you would add new content. It will take a while to get familiar with all the features.

My piano teacher sent me a bunch of music in one PDF. Now to see if I should leave them in one PDF or use the function within MobileSheetsPro to break them into individual JPGs. Need to read more.

#2710990 - 02/02/18 02:16 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Thats what I do with PDFs that contain multiple pieces:

I import the whole PDF as one file, under a name that matches it. I.e. if it's a loose collection of pieces, make up a fitting name, if it's an actual book or opus, use that book's name. So let's say you have Schumann's Opus 15 in a PDF and have imported it under the name "Kinderszenen / Scenes from Childhood".

Then later, when I want to start working on one of the pieces in this book, I make a copy of the original piece, rename the copy, and then adjust the page range of the copy so that it only shows the piece I'm interested in. So let's say I want to work on Träumerei (which takes up only one page in Kinderszenen). I copy the Kinderszenen entry, rename the copy to Träumerei and adjust the page range in the copy so that only the single page of that piece is shown. The advantage: Behind the scenes, in the Mobilesheets database, the actual underlying PDF is stored only once. And this single PDF file is simply referenced by both the Kinderszenen entry (which shows all pages from the PDF) and the Träumerei entry (which shows only one page). So creating such copies does not take up any additional storage space in the underlying database.

Or let's say you have a strange combo PDF that contains one Beethoven sonata and one Mozart sonata. That would be awkward to have as a single entry. So I'd do this: Import the PDF and give it a name that matches the Beethoven sonata. Adjust its page range to show only that sonata. Make a copy of this Beethoven sonata entry and rename the copy to match the Mozart sonata and adjust the page range of the copy to show only the Mozart piece. Now you have two entries, one for each individual sonata, both of which reference the same underlying combo PDF.

#2710994 - 02/02/18 02:29 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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But wait, there's more smile!

Assume you have a 5 page piece where pages 3 and 4 have a repeat. Now you have three options:

At the end of page 4, use the foot pedal to page back to page 3. That can be awkward though, especially if you have to page back more than one page or use the half page turn feature (another very useful feature that I can recommend).

Or set a jump marker. That's a pair of two colored circles that you place into the score: You put the first (the "jump") at the end of page 4 and the second (the "target") at the beginning of page 3. A short tap on the jump marker on page 4 sends you automatically back to the target marker on page 3. But that too can be awkward, if you don't have a free hand to tap the screen.

So instead simply adjust the page range to show pages 3 and 4 twice. I.e. instead of the page range 1-5, change it to 1-4,3-5. That way, you can successively page through the now 7 pages long piece, always with the same next-page pedal, and you will automatically see pages 3 and 4 twice, to play the proper repeat.

#2711026 - 02/02/18 04:44 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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JoBert: Yep, I've gone through that. I also found another trick. I downloaded a pdf that had a couple of pages in front of the music (cover page, and request for donation page) as well as an additional page at the end of the music. So, I was able to tell the app just to display pages 3, 4 & 5. I had been trying to figure out how to remove the other pages, but this was much simpler.

It is funny-- I was having issues trying to get good clear images using my camera to import, until I realized that I had originally printed out the music from pdf files. DUH!!! So, I went and found the original pdfs and imported them. :-)

#2711027 - 02/02/18 04:44 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Interesting method, Jobert! In similar circumstances, I have copied PDF's and deleted pages I don't need, always retaining the original.


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#2712335 - 02/07/18 12:17 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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Originally Posted by RVDowning
I'm trying to find a solution to the problem of having several pages of music spread out in front of me at the piano. I am only a fairly early intermediate player.

I'm thinking perhaps of a largish sized tablet with some variety of software that lets one display piano music. My teacher suggested taking pictures of the music and storing as JPG for example, and then using software that lets you display the JPG and then tap the screen to see the next one or something like that. Perhaps some naming convention is used so that it knows what page to display next. I think she said that Dropbox might offer something like this, or maybe it was to use Dropbox to take the pictures. I haven't investigated yet.

I am not good enough to have something that does continuous scrolling. There also needs to be a way to go backwards to a preceding page or two, for example to handle repeats.

As an older player I would probably need to use a larger screen size; my current tablet is probably too small. Also, I would want to see a full page of music at a time. I can't see having to scroll music up the screen as I am trying to play.

I would only be interested in an Android variety solution.

Thanks much!


I used to have such issues .I tried an 8 inch windows tablet and a 10 inch (ipad 3 clone) combined with a usb pedal .That worked quite good but both tablets were small even at portret position.I have no issues with my eyes but scores were too small via tablet screen smaller than 12 inches (or maybe i was newbie back then).
I think that any tablet around 12 inch would be good (at portret position)

At some point , i made a dyi floor stand for a 18.6 inch monitor i had (it was put also in vertical potition) which is good if you have space and a monitor lying around.With the monitor positioned just above the piano it was a good solution.Now i use my desktop monitor (24 inch) for viewing two page orientation and it is quite good

If i had an ios device available, i would like to try that app (can't remember the name ) with the auto scroll feature.

Last edited by George Gk; 02/07/18 12:19 PM.
#2712344 - 02/07/18 12:55 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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There is a print-to-pdf driver available for most operating systems. On my computers it's called cups-pdf but it may be named something else on Windows or Mac.

Install that driver and it will show up as another available printer when you print something. Now you can print the pages that you want in the order that you want from any program just like you would if you're printing on paper but what you get is a new pdf file with the content that you just printed.


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Currently playing both kinds of music: Country and Western!
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#2713169 - 02/10/18 12:27 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
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not in Japan anymore
I'm an iPad user, to the specific apps I use might not be available for Android, but assuming you have a phone with a good camera, try to find a document scanner app so you can make PDFs with your phone and bypass having to start with JPGs.

I use Scanner Mini (I think it was $3?). I can take a photo of any black and white document and save it as a PDF. The quality is far better and more consistent than trying to snap a photo with my camera. I can make multiple page documents as well. Then I can send to myself as an email, upload it into Dropbox etc. Oh, if I have a paper score that I've written on, then I can take a scan of that and the app does a really good job of capturing pencil marks.

I also have the pro version of Adobe Acrobat which I can do all kinds of editing with (rearrange pages, add or delete pages, crop etc) but I think the free version should allow you to do some of that as well.

Good luck!


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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#2713959 - 02/13/18 10:37 AM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 123
QuinGold Offline
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QuinGold  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 123
New Mexico
I've been trying a variety of things, depending on the source. I have a new large iPad which is great for reading music from forScore or the Tido Music app and Pianist Magazine.

For printed music, I notice someone mentioned scanning/photocopying the pages and taping them together. Because I have a tabloid laser printer (office printer) I can print IMSLP or scanned pages to a 9x12 paper, which is usually the same size as the printed books. (I buy 12x18 paper and cut it in half.) I also bought a binding machine - after spending $$ at the office store I realized I could save money by doing my own coil binding!

Remember that if you have a 3-page score, you only need to scan the last page. Print it out and tape it to the right side of the second page, so that it can be flipped out when you are doing that piece, then tucked back in when you store the book. So now when I'm binding a book (and the pages are all loose), I sometimes scan a few of the "third page" music and tape then in after I bind.

But I do like the large iPad too - it's very clear (if the music is clear of course).


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Yamaha DGX-660 / Pianoteq / Arturia
#2714013 - 02/13/18 02:27 PM Re: Tablet type solution for reading music at the piano [Re: RVDowning]  
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,658
Beemer Offline
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Beemer  Offline
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Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,658
Scotland
Here is an image I took with the largest page of sheet music I have and alongside the same music (but a different arrangement) on my Android tablet a Galaxy Notepad Pro 12.2"

[Linked Image]

The tablet image is perfectly readable by me at normal piano seating distance and I am 71 years old

I view sheet music as PDF files scanned at home. I flick my finger to the left to advance and to the right to go back. I use the free Adobe Reader software.

UPDATE: I have just realised that the photo I posted shows Adobe Reader not in Full Screen mode. See the top and bottom areas that would disappear in Full Screen mode and expand the visible image vertically.

Ian


Last edited by Beemer; 02/13/18 02:45 PM.

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2016 Blüthner Model A

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