Paper is best ?

Okay, I admit that I’m a techie, and love all the latest gadgets. I’ve been using computers since 1983 and have owned over two dozen Macs, three iPads and five iPhones since 1987. My husband used to tell me that I kept Apple Computer in business! For my upcoming trip, which is now only about ten days away (gasp!), I’m taking my iPhone, my iPad and my MacBook Air — all of which I consider the bare minimum to keep me connected and to give me the tools to blog away.

The iPad on the music rack.

The iPad on the music rack.

However, I’ve been intrigued by gadgets from which to read music. I specifically have been interested in how musicians use the iPad to upload PDF copies of the music, eliminating bulky scores and the need for a human page turner. The hype is that you can keep your entire music library on the iPad and don’t have to carry around all your organ music books. You may remember from my trip to Los Angeles last Christmas (see my post “Surprise Reunion“) that organist Jonathan Dimmock read from an iPad to play his recital at Our Lady of the Angels.

I was especially fascinated to see how he used specially-mounted pedals to turn the pages. With all the traps that can befall a human page turner (like turning two pages at the same time, or turning too late or too early) I have seriously considered using a digital music reader to play my next concert. Here’s a repost of the picture I took of the Bluetooth pedals:

You turn the pages on the iPad by pressing the black pedal.

You turn the pages on the iPad by pressing the middle black pedal.

My reservations about using the iPad, however, are that the screen is too small and I’m afraid the screen would go dark in the middle of a performance. That would really be disastrous! Or what if in the middle of a concert, you forgot to turn off notifications and a text message came through at the worst possible moment?

This past week, a new dual screen 13.3 inch sheet music reader was announced, and I must say that it looks awfully tempting. It’s called the Gvido and made its debut at a music industry conference in Cannes last week. However, I believe it’s not yet commercially available.

But guess how I’ve spent the last week? As you probably remember, I’m preparing Bach’s Clavierübung III (The German Organ Mass) for a performance this October, and I’ve been scanning, cutting, pasting and printing my music to create giant scores, eliminating page turns altogether.

The opening Prelude in E-flat from the Clavierübung

The opening Prelude in E-flat from the Clavierübung

My only fear is — will I be able to see the music? Will I get lost in the maze of little dots on the page?

We’ll see.

It reminds me of that French television commercial, which tells us that in some cases, paper is best!

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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3 Responses to Paper is best ?

  1. Curt Zimmerman says:

    Amongst my Apple connections I now have the iPad Pro 12 inch. And it works great on the organ console instead of “real” music. a quick touch of the screen and you’re on the next page. The iPad is at the church, and I forget which app I’m using. But it works – and so nice not to have to lug around a stack of sheet music.

  2. Hi Katherine,

    I started using the reduce/cut/paste method about ten years ago when I played several recitals abroad and my wife came along under the strict condition that she would not ever turn pages. (This backfired however when the position of the swell pedal on one organ required someone to get down there and do a crescendo for me during the Duruflé Méditation… She reluctantly obliged!)

    This worked for a long time, and I have a thick binder of repertoire ready to go. However, this year my vision is starting to play tricks, and so my Widor Toccata and Vierne Westminster felt much safer with an assistant. Fortunately my 12-year-old son is more than happy and able to help!

    Love your blog… Good luck with the Bach!

    -Scott

  3. Noel Channon says:

    As an organist (Messiah Lutheran, Seattle) I haven’t found a satisfactory way to use my iPad Pro 12″ for organ music. BUT. to accompany our choral folks I use the piano, and man does that iPad Pro work best! I use an Page Flip Cicada pedal system to turn pages; however, the only down turn to all of this is scanning choral music into forScore. I use a flatbed scanner, scan each page onto the desktop of my Mac as a PDF, then hook the iPad up to the computer, call up iTunes, click on my iPad, and drag each PDF into the bottom of the apps screen, where it says forScore. I then get on the iPad, and use MERGE to get all the pdf’s into one document, and I’m set to go. So far this has worked great for me. The Cicada pedal is absolutely quiet. I also make darn sure the iPad is fully charged before services.

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