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the tablet dilemma

I spent this last semester working with the iPad in rehearsals and performance. I found it to be a great tool with respect to managing all the repertoire for the various ensembles. I used to carry around several different folders - one for each ensemble. No more. It was also great to mark up scores for specific rehearsals and then erase those and put new ones in for the next rehearsal. And, it was wonderful in performance because there was no sound when turning pages. I will treasure the day when we figure out a way to legally put all of our ensemble members' music on such a device.
The dilemma is that the screen is fine when someone is holding it to read in a choir, but too small for conducting purposes. Does anyone know of a tablet or other portable device that is closer to a normal size octavo or even better slightly larger? Is there enough of a market for some entrepreneur out there to develop such a device for the many musicians that would use it? If so, could I ask that person to hurry up and develop it? My guess is that if it were designed solely for the purposes of reading music (not a multi-purpose tablet), then it would be fairly inexpensive and many musicians throughout the world would want one - or in the case of pianists two that are linked.


Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on July 9, 2013 6:55am
You can turn the tablet to landscape and then the print will be bigger. ForScore lets you then turn half pages. The problem with that is there are more page turns, plus, if there are three systems on a page, it displays one and a half (meaning usually a full system and the soprano and alto parts of the next) systems. You don't get that second system fully on a page. If you have the score in Finale, you can print a PDF with just two systems per page. Then each system displays fully on each screen. But again, it's a lot of page turns for you. 
on July 9, 2013 7:19am
I'm an organist, and would love a giant digital display that would allow me to manipulate the size/position of pages, and easily take markings, and not have a glare. I'm sure the cost of such a device would be prohibitive, though!
on July 11, 2013 10:14am
I was at a business show recently and saw monitor type screens that are made to correct the back lighting to suit the surrounding light.  They are make primarily for advertising.  Thus you could program what would be on the screen when.  The cost no more than any other monitor and you could hook it up to whatever computer you wanted and control what appeared on the screen.  You could even use your lap top or tablet to send the score to your screen.  That would be so cool. 
on July 9, 2013 8:13am
ForScore is a great app and it keeps getting better. It's nice that it recently added the capability to see two pages at once but for conducting, that can be pretty small. You probably already know that you can project your iPad screen on to a large monitor using Air Play but for portability, I would love to see someone come up with a portable wide screen that interacts with the iPad through Air Play.  It would be about the size of a music stand desk and would roll up like a scroll for storage. (Remember the roll up piano on Star Trek Next Generation?)
BTW, if anyone is interested in forScore but feel they need some help learning it, I have several video tutorials available here:  Tutorials on Using forScore on the iPad.
Janet Lanier
on July 10, 2013 7:32am
I saw a local church pastor preaching from a Dell XPS 18, which is an "all-in-one" computer in the form of a large tablet. The 18" screen is almost twice the diagonal size of an iPad. The question is whether there would be music-display-related software for the Windows 8 operating system similar to the functionality of something like forScore.
on July 11, 2013 6:02am
I was really hoping to nudge someone with an interest in developing a stand alone device, which shouldn't really cost too much to develop if its sole function would be as a display for forScore. It seems like a no brainer to me, but that really is not my field of expertise. My guess is that even if the software works or is developed for Windows 8, few will want to spend $900.00 for a score reader, but maybe I am wrong.
on July 12, 2013 8:30am
I'm pretty sure that many organists and pianists would prefer the much-larger display of the tablet PC I mentioned over the current iPad screen dimensions. The tablet PC wouldn't necessarily be purchased just as a score reader, but could be used as a "desktop replacement" or even a "laptop replacement" for the user.
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