Late last night, forScore updated their website, and version 3.0 of the app was released in the App Store. I’ve had a few minutes this morning to interact with the app, and I like some of the additions to the program. One of the things I really like about forScore is that it seems that the developers had a clear plan for the app. They certainly had a public relations plan in place before the app (or the iPad) was ever released (appearing in several of the major Apple blogs), but even more so, each version of the app has added to the functionality of the program without changing the functionality of the program. Therefore, if you bought forScore 1.0, you would know how to use forScore 3.0. In other words, the improvement map has been very deliberately–and very well–thought out.
forScore 3 brings a number of new features, some of those that I’ve been asking for, and a few that I had never considered. The first, and most important (for me) is Dropbox integration. I keep all my scores on Dropbox so they are available at all times. A word about Dropbox: there was a big security breach at Dropbox about a month ago. With all online services, you need to be careful about the types of non-encrypted private data you store there. My music doesn’t fall into that category.
Another new feature is the ability to rearrange PDF files from within forScore itself. On their webpage, forScore stated that they wanted to keep some of the elements and benefits of paper, which included the ability to move pages around, duplicate pages, and so on. This will be of the biggest benefit to people who own page turners, like the Pageflip Cicada or the AirTurn. You can now copy and add pages as necessary to avoid “hotspots” or “turning back pages,” and simply make a larger file and simply use the foot pedal through the entire piece. In the past, you could do this on your desktop/notebook computer, but now you can do it conveniently within the app.
A very OSX Lion-like feature is “Versions,” which allows you to keep twenty-four versions of the same song. This will be of special benefit to teachers, who might need to keep track of different students working on the same song, voice book, or instrumental methods book.
The final “major” new feature is called “Darkroom,” where users can take a picture of a score and use it to create PDF files from within the app.
There have been a number of additional updates to the app, which are listed in the forScore user manual, which I will attach at the end of this blog post. The end result is that on July 29th, 2011, forScore has added a number of major features and small improvements that allow it to remain one of the very best music readers–and apps–available for the iPad.
Another thing that I’ve always appreciated about the developers of forScore is that they listen to feedback, but they do so from a number of sources. As a result, if you contact them, they hear you (and usually send back and e-mail), but they also keep feedback from other sources in mind. My needs as a vocal/choral music educator differ from other teachers. That said, there is still a list of things I’d still like to see forScore add (and with over 40 updates in two years, it would figure that they aren;t done yet!) to the app. I still think that the setlist feature is too “buried” in the score menu (particularly if you need to quickly get to a set list and were looking at an individual piece of music), and a pitch pipe would be a very useful addition for choral singers. And I would still like to be able to create an index (searchable, items able to be put into a set list)for a longer book or collection of songs, using many of the metadata options available in forScore.
Since its introduction, forScore has been a no-brainer purchase for a musician. Yes, you either have to download or create your PDF resources, but once you do, a PDF music library is a tremendous resource. At $4.99, you can’t go wrong with this app.
Here is the list of forScore 3.0 additions and improvements from the forScore help file: