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Using tablets for sheet music
#2977307 05/10/20 06:08 AM
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The time may have come for me to switch to an iPad for my music - I like having books for the big pieces I am playing (by that I mean proper editions e.g. Henle etc.), but I am happy to use IMSLP for smaller pieces at the moment.

I just wanted to gauge PW's opinion on using an iPad (or any other tablet - I have seen some specifically designed for musicians, any opinions welcome) for my sheet music. How much music is available? Is it easy to make notes on it etc.? And finally do we think it will affect my eyes negatively in the long run?

In short do we think that the convenience of using an iPad is worth it?

Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977338 05/10/20 07:55 AM
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Personally I find an ipad *less* convenient than printed music but if you download scores and don't have a printer that would be reversed of course.

To use an ipad you also need good eyes, better than mine anyway, or perhaps one of the rather expensive large devices.

That said, some people seem to like the things ....

Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977341 05/10/20 08:01 AM
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Get an Ipad pro - it will be essentially the same size as the actual music. You can mark up the music with a fingertip, change the color of your markings for emphasis or for different types of markings, saved the marked up copy along with the original, email it to students or colleagues, erase them perfectly, etc.

Pair it with an Air Turn page turner (https://www.airturn.com) and you are in business. It is amazing how many pieces are downloadable for free. If you want a particular edition, you might have to pay for it.

ANyway, my 2 cents,


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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
Rich Galassini #2977346 05/10/20 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Get an Ipad pro - it will be essentially the same size as the actual music. You can mark up the music with a fingertip, change the color of your markings for emphasis or for different types of markings, saved the marked up copy along with the original, email it to students or colleagues, erase them perfectly, etc.

Pair it with an Air Turn page turner (https://www.airturn.com) and you are in business. It is amazing how many pieces are downloadable for free. If you want a particular edition, you might have to pay for it.

To add to Rich’s excellent advice, we did a recent Piano Buyer accessory review that you may find relevant:

https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/review-bluetooth-page-turning-pedals-for-pianists/


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Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977357 05/10/20 09:04 AM
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I'd say an iPad Pro is worth it if you have it already or if you use it for other things then reading music scores.
So if you can find multiple uses for it, it's a very nice device.
But paying £1000 or more for it just for that specific use ? At least for me it sounds strange.


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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977359 05/10/20 09:07 AM
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A 32 inch monitor will fit 2 pages pretty well hooked up to a laptop or desktop pc. It's bigger than 2 pages of 8.5"x11" piece of paper. and much bigger than any ipad.

I use that on my upright. for Page turning, I soldered a cheap $10 digital piano pedal to a $5 usb computer keyboard, and that works just fine. The pc side just recognizes the usb-keyboard, and the arrow key for turning pages.

The 32" 1080p monitors at costco are ~$200, it was $150 last black friday.

Last edited by jeffcat; 05/10/20 09:08 AM.
Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977377 05/10/20 09:46 AM
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If you play on an acoustic you need the tablet. But if you play on an stage piano you can take a music stand, put it horizontally and place your laptop over (or a laptop stand if you have one but with covid is hard to buy right now)

Re: Using tablets for sheet music
jeffcat #2977378 05/10/20 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffcat
A 32 inch monitor will fit 2 pages pretty well hooked up to a laptop or desktop pc. It's bigger than 2 pages of 8.5"x11" piece of paper. and much bigger than any ipad.

I use that on my upright. for Page turning, I soldered a cheap $10 digital piano pedal to a $5 usb computer keyboard, and that works just fine. The pc side just recognizes the usb-keyboard, and the arrow key for turning pages.

The 32" 1080p monitors at costco are ~$200, it was $150 last black friday.
Hi that's interesting. Do you nitice any difference or eye fatigue when reading from the monitor instead of your computer screen?

Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977379 05/10/20 09:49 AM
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I use the first (?) version of the iPad pro, the 9" one, and I LOVE it. I also use a bluetooth page turner. This way I can play very long pieces and not worry about page turns, this is esp. helpful when I play with others (something I don't get to do much in the age of corona...) but when the score has piano, cello and violin on it, it often is ridiculously long. But using the iPad, page turns are no problem.

I also use an Apple Pencil for writing on the score, and that works incredibly well. Another reason I like the iPad is that there's no lamp or light behind me, but with the iPad, it's never difficult to see.

The other thing I like about the tablet is being able to take my music -- all of it! -- anywhere.

I have never used anything other than an iPad so I can't speak to how it might compare or whether less expensive models are comparable.

If you're only going to use it for piano, the iPad might be a bit pricey. But if you think you'll use the tablet for other things, not just at the piano, I think it's definitely worth it. One of these days I'm going to upgrade to the 12 inch one....


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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
Ubu #2977388 05/10/20 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Ubu
Hi that's interesting. Do you nitice any difference or eye fatigue when reading from the monitor instead of your computer screen?

The monitor is a computer screen hooked up to my laptop next to the piano.

If you leave it on high brightness, it's much brighter than paper, so that can lead to eye fatigue. That's not a problem, you just turn the monitor brightness down so it's approximately the same brightness as a lit piece of a paper.

Last edited by jeffcat; 05/10/20 10:22 AM.
Re: Using tablets for sheet music
jeffcat #2977406 05/10/20 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffcat
Originally Posted by Ubu
Hi that's interesting. Do you nitice any difference or eye fatigue when reading from the monitor instead of your computer screen?

The monitor is a computer screen hooked up to my laptop next to the piano.

If you leave it on high brightness, it's much brighter than paper, so that can lead to eye fatigue. That's not a problem, you just turn the monitor brightness down so it's approximately the same brightness as a lit piece of a paper.

Wonderful idea, maybe i get one of those

Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977450 05/10/20 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by lbuizza
How much music is available? Is it easy to make notes on it etc.? And finally do we think it will affect my eyes negatively in the long run?

I wanted to come back to these questions from the OP's first post.

First regarding the availability of sheet music... if you mean what scores are available for purchase in digital format, I think it varies considerably. If you want a specific arrangement or a specific layout etc., you may not find something pre-made as a digital score.

But most tablets have a camera, and most score-reading apps have a way to take an image and make it available in the app. I use forScore, which I absolutely love. You can import pdfs directly into the program. Or, if you have an actual photo(s) of a score, you can use the scan function to make a score. And if you have a paper score in front of you, you can use the tablet's camera to scan it into the score app.

I do that a lot because I have scores that I've had for years that I like, or a particular arrangement I like, so I'll scan that in.

In other words, if you have the paper version, you can easily get it in the app and you don't have to re-purchase.

Second, I think I did write about this, but using an iPad and Apple Pencil, it is very easy to take notes on the score. But I do recommend getting the Apple Pencil, or if you're not using an iPad, a dedicated stylus/pen. Before I had one, I found it awkward to write on the score using my finger, and I never liked the way my writing looked. Once I got the Apple Pencil, I started using it all the time.

Lastly, re the effect on one's eyes.... I honestly don't know. I personally do not feel any specific eyestrain. I don't know how much of that is due to the iPad's display (which is supposed to be good bc it uses True Tone and has adjustable white balance). Oh and my piano glasses (which double as my computer glasses) have something that's supposed to reduce eye strain from screens (maybe it's called blueIQ?? from lenscrafters), so that might be a factor.

The other question about impact on eyes is how many hours do you play a day, and when you're not that piano, are you on a computer all day? If so, then yes, eye strain might be an issue, so maybe look into glasses designed for screen work?

Hope these comments are helpful. And no, I don't get a commission from Apple! I just happen to think the iPad + pencil + bluetooth page turner is the perfect set up for piano playing. smile


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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977464 05/10/20 12:37 PM
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I don't use an ipad, but I agree that a large tablet is really a great way to go, especially if you move around a lot to different venues/pianos and have a lot of sheets you normally carry. After switching to an Android tablet I never want to deal with paper or books again. Mobile Sheets Pro is a great app that seems to do everything.

A stylus is also a very worthwhile perk.


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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977468 05/10/20 12:40 PM
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A problem I've read about this is that most tablet screens are too small, and in particular for reading things like fingering notation and accidentals becomes too hard. I already need to lean forward and squint to make a load of those things out with normal A4 printed music in a well lot room with perfect vision.

I saw a lot of 1 star reviews for some PDF music books due to the print / screen being too small to read such markings.

Last edited by Bhav; 05/10/20 12:41 PM.

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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
Bhav #2977471 05/10/20 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bhav
A problem I've read about this is that most tablet screens are too small, and in particular for reading things like fingering notation and accidentals becomes too hard. I already need to lean forward and squint to make a load of those things out with normal A4 printed music in a well lot room with perfect vision..

Right now I'm using a 32" monitor on my upright.

But once I get my DPiano, I'll just put it in front of my 65" TV, and read from that. obviously 5-6 feet away, haha.

Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977492 05/10/20 01:19 PM
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The iPad Pro is great-- the new large size (12"?). You can get a pencil with that and a protective case that also holds the pencil when you're not using it.

You can use the iPad to convert pdfs into ForScore, which is a great app for preserving your own markings.

Some vendors now make a lot available for download. Henle, for example. And, of course, IMSLP if you don't mind older editions.

Last edited by Maestro Lennie; 05/10/20 01:20 PM.
Re: Using tablets for sheet music
Bhav #2977497 05/10/20 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Bhav
A problem I've read about this is that most tablet screens are too small, and in particular for reading things like fingering notation and accidentals becomes too hard. I already need to lean forward and squint to make a load of those things out with normal A4 printed music in a well lot room with perfect vision.

I saw a lot of 1 star reviews for some PDF music books due to the print / screen being too small to read such markings.

I think your post points to how individual it may be. So maybe for the OP, or anyone else, maybe try to simulate the experience with a laptop to see if the screen will be too small or not? Because it would be awful to get an expensive tablet and decide you couldn't use it bc the score was too small!


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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977504 05/10/20 01:37 PM
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If the tablet is smaller than a page of A4 then it is too small for this.


'Its too rare to break a hand from playing the piano ... But playing Hanon as written will break your hand'

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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
Bhav #2977516 05/10/20 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Bhav
If the tablet is smaller than a page of A4 then it is too small for this.

At least for you. I use a 9 inch iPad pro for score reading with no problem, although I do wear glasses.

Hence why I said this is something that everyone needs to figure out individually, what works for some won't work for others. And what doesn't work for some will work for others.

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 05/10/20 02:12 PM.

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Re: Using tablets for sheet music
lbuizza #2977532 05/10/20 03:06 PM
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Ipads cost way more than large monitors and they're much smaller.

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