One of my goals this summer was to complete an updated summary of the music readers that are available for the iPad. Make no mistake–the iPad has a plethora of music readers available, whereas similar apps are not to be found for Android or WebOS devices. I’m still waiting to hear back from a couple of app developers regarding their products, but in the midst of working with various apps, I had the pleasure to interact with the developers of Scorecerer.
You can learn more about Scorcerer iPad directly from the developer’s website at http://www.deskew.com/ or you can download it (for $19.99 until October 18th–a 50% savings) on the iTunes store (app link).
Scorecerer is an app which wants to offer digital music reading with two primary features: fast page turns and annotation. It used to be offered for some other devices, such as the Kindle DX, but the company has recently turned the focus of the app solely on the iPad. In addition to the two major features of speed and annotation, the app also offers the ability to set page order sequences (to allow for D.S., D.C., Repeats, and Codas), set lists, MIDI program changes, and a desktop program that cleans up scans and helps import them into the app.
The desktop application allows for the import (batch, if necessary) of PDF files or FH files (Freehand files). The FH import would be important for anyone who owned a MusicPad Pro and had invested in FH files. As far as I can tell, as the desktop application imports the images and stores them as a series of PNG files (image files). You can then upload the files via a wireless connection to the iPad.
So, how well does Scorecerer iPad work? It works just fine. If you need an app with fast page turns and annotation, plus set lists, page ordering, and some special MIDI functions, you can’t go wrong with this app. In my opinion, annotation is one of the key components of any music reader, and annotation works well in Scorecerer iPad. If you have any FreeHand files, the app might be a necessity, as you might want to use those files on your iPad (although there is a FreeHand Music Pad app). As you turn pages, additional information shows on the page so that you know you turned pages. When you annotate, the program “auto-zooms” to allow for better annotation. There is some benefit from the program converting PDF files to Scorecerer files, as the app won’t be impacted by any iOS 5 PDF API changes (internal iOS 5 programming changes in how PDF files are handled and drawn). The desktop program which deskews images will be a great addition for some poorly scanned files. You won’t want to use the app in landscape mode, however. Landscape mode offers a playlist and a smaller image of each page.
At the same time, when compared to the additional options offered by pure PDF music readers, such a forScore or UnrealBook, I would have to recommend the other options, particularly as a music educator. forScore seems nearly as fast as Scorecerer, has a more appealing user interface, has more options within the program, including with annotation, offers other ways to sync including Dropbox, and the list could go on (and will in a future music reader comparison update). Similar things can be said when Scorecerer is compared to UnrealBook. And perhaps most importantly, Scorecerer is $19.99, soon to be $39.98. It is difficult to recommend an app when there are apps that offer more features at 1/4 (or eventually 1/8) the cost. To be fair, the desktop program used to cost $60, and the iPad app was free. Now the desktop program is free and the iPad app is the revenue source, at a 66% discount (currently) from the original price of the desktop application.
What I would to see is a desktop application that would import any graphics file (including a live scan), deskew those files, perhaps crop/center those files, and export them as a PDF optimized for the iPad (including the consideration of the current iPad’s 192 dpi). With the “Darkroom” functionality of forScore (or the iPhone forScore Darkroom app), or UnrealBook’s “Photo to PDF” function, iPad music readers have added the ability to import your own scores, and to edit those scores–still, a desktop app would be . I think Deskew Technologies is uniquely poised to offer such an application as a derivative of their existing Scorecerer Companion for iPad. It’s an app that I would pay for.
As always, read some other reviews of the app before making your decision. Buy what works for you and your music needs. Scorecerer might be the answer to your specific needs for a music reader.
I would like to thank Deskew Technologies for a promo code so I could test out Scorecerer iPad.
Other Links/Reviews of Scorecerer (Scorecerer iPad or earlier versions)