Technology

Being born in a generation of baby boomers I have been very slow to embrace technology. Over the years I have acquired a very large collection of sheet music. Reading music has it’s drawbacks. Fumbling through filing cabinets looking for a particular piece of music. Trying to turn the page a quarter of the way through the song and many times back and forth through repeats and coda’s without interrupting the flow of the music is difficult at best. Struggling with poor lighting conditions. Music sheets, or books, falling off the music stand and countless other problems. For these reasons I have decide to digitize my music. I started by trying a lot of different apps and researching ways to approach this huge task. At first it was a slow process, but as I gained knowledge and experience I was seeing very pleasing results. Without going into a lot of details I discovered that the best app for me was by a large margin the app for ipad called forscore. I tried searching Microsoft apps and android apps as well, being I have both a Dell laptop and an android device. I’ve found Apple has a much larger selection.

Forscore does have a learning curve, and the first hour or so I couldn’t make any progress, but also has an online user manual that explains every detail of the program. I found myself frequently referring to it as I learned the program and I soon became a fan. I’m truly amazed at all the things I can do with this app. I can categorize my songs in many different ways. For example, I have created labels to separate the guitar music from the piano music and tags to add more detail such as songs with alternate tunings,or capo and special keys. I can also search by composer, title, or genre and assign a difficulty setting. The feature I most enjoy is called music binding. With music binding I can search my music and bind it to the sheet music so I can hear the music play while I’m reading the notes. I can also set a metronome to either pulse, click, or both, and slow the music to half or quarter speed, or vary it by increments. I can also vary the pitch by musical cents. I can crop or annotate the music and adjust the brightness and contrast. Importing songs into forscore is easily done with a scanner or by taking pictures of the music from the programs Dark Room feature. Finally, I purchased an airturn pedal and with Bluetooth I can pair the pedal to the app and turn the pages back and forth with the pedal so I don’t have to take my hands off the guitar or piano. I can also rearrange the order of the pages  making repeats and codas easier to navigate. There is a feature called set list which can be used for a gig or live playing. I can import the songs I’m doing for each set and page through them in the order I choose. Pretty amazing for a person who is technologically challenged.

 

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