I’m trying out the Notion app for music notation on the iPad. I don’t do a ton of music notation in my day-to-day musical life, but I do use it for simple tasks like writing out ornaments and cadenzas for my arias, making instrumental parts for my musical collaborators, and very occasionally for more complex tasks like re-typesetting choral scores.
At the moment, I’m just doing some ornaments and cadenzas, so I need a simple music notation app that I can get going with quickly without getting too bogged down in bells and whistles. Notion fits the bill so far – here are my initial impressions:
- It wasn’t too hard to figure out how to set up the score and staves, bring up the keyboard, and start entering notes.
- Entering new notes was easy, but inserting notes into an existing bar, or changing values of existing notes, was a little tougher to figure out. I ended up just inserting a new empty measure (by using the bar line tool), putting in the new notes I wanted, then deleting the old measure. If anyone knows of a better way, please let me know.
- I like the “Select” button. It works a lot like highlighting text on an iPad. You select/highlight a sequence of notes, and then you get a pop-up with options to cut/copy/paste/etc.
- The two-bar-per-staff formatting limitation is kind of annoying. It makes a score take up a lot of space, especially if you want to print it out.
- You can do text underlays for a vocal line.
- Tie and slur are actually two different buttons under different toolbars, although their icons look somewhat similar!
- There is a nice basic playback feature. I had to add a metronome marking to the score to get it to play back at my desired tempo.
- I really like the feature for emailing the score as a PDF. With it, I can import my Notion score into forScore, email it to someone, or print out a hard copy and show it to my coach so he can tell me how outré my taste in Baroque ornaments is. (Just yanking your chain, coach – love ya.)
- Notion is still a bit buggy – for example, the playback would sometimes play notes I’d already erased.
I’ve heard of the Symphony Pro app as another option for music notation on the iPad – will have to try that one in the future.