Archive for the ‘annotation’ Category

(This is Part 1 in a three-part series – read Part 2 and Part 3)

I want to relate how I chose between an iPad and an Android tablet as my main tablet to use for music-reading (and many, many other tasks).  My point is not to tell you what tablet you should buy.  It’s more to shed light on my own criteria and decision-making process, in order to help other musicians formulate their own (more…)

This video playlist from Schola Cantorum provides more in-depth discussion of forScore‘s features, including annotation, editing score metadata (e.g. title, composer, period, keywords, etc.), and integrating on-device audio (i.e. linking audio files to scores so you can listen while you read).  The video is a follow-up webcast to the Using iPads and Tablets for Choir Rehearsal and Performance session.  Again, no iPad screen close-ups unfortunately but lots of good discussion and Q&A.

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This video playlist is a webcast of a presentation given to the singers of Schola Cantorum on using iPads and tablets for choir rehearsal and performance.  The first part of the presentation is about the practical and logistical considerations of using an iPad/tablet as a singer and in a choral setting.  There is much useful information and Q&A here, including many issues that you might not have thought of if this type of tablet use is new to you.  The last part is (more…)

Credit: forScore

MGS Development recently announced that version 4.0 of forScore, the PDF score reader app for iPad, will be released in the next few weeks.  Improvements include faster page turns, more responsive annotations, better workflow, setlist sharing, annotation font styles, and more.

They are also adding an in-app purchase storefront for scores and are looking for partners to provide content.  Composers and publishers take note!

Note that some users of the current forScore version have reported issues with the annotation controls in iOS 6 – so tread cautiously when upgrading iOS and/or forScore if you might be affected.

This is the primary score reading app that I use, so I’m excited to get my hands on the upgrade and try it out.

Read the full announcement about forScore here.

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Nico Castel libretti on bookshelf

Credit: The Juilliard Store

This is part 2 of the Tech tools for working with music texts series.

Step 2: Translate the text

My next step is to translate the text I’m singing. I like to do a word-for-word translation and write it into my score. If I’m short on time, or if I have difficulty translating the text myself, I’ll look for a translation from one of these sources. Some of them have literal translations, some have poetic translations, and some have both.  I generally double-check the translations I find online, as they occasionally contain mistakes.

If I’m doing the translation myself, these are the main tech tools and references I use:

If I got really stuck on a translation problem, another option would be to post the translation work I have done so far on a forum like ChoralNet, the New Forum for Classical Singers, or a language-learning forum and ask the community for help.

As I work, I like to type my translation into the Evernote or Dropbox document I created earlier that contains the original text.  Once my translation is done, I can write it into my score on my iPad with the forScore app’s annotation feature.  I can either use the “Draw” option and write it in freehand with my stylus (zooming in if there’s limited space to write in) or the “Type” option and type it in, adding extra spaces between words so that my word-for-word translation lines up properly with each word of the original text.  I may also write in a paraphrase or poetic translation, in a different color than the literal translation just so my eye can distinguish.  If there’s some pesky, godawful singing translation already printed in the score, I can erase it first using forScore’s “Whiteout Pen” option.

It’s during these kinds of tasks that I really appreciate having a tablet.  I like having the equivalent of a big, heavy bookshelf full of dictionaries and reference books and scores all on this slim little tablet that I can take anywhere. The information is accessible to me at any time and place, so I can work on the translation wherever I happen to be.  With my translation document stored in the cloud using Evernote or Dropbox, I can read it or work on it regardless of whether I have my laptop, iPad, or phone with me.

There are some other kinds of translation tech resources that I haven’t looked into yet but would like to, for example, translation-related iPad apps (myLanguage Translator Pro looks interesting and has good reviews) and also dictionaries/references in app or ebook format that work offline.  But I will have to save that for a future blog post.

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[UPDATE 9/5/12: I’ve posted a video tutorial that takes you step-by-step through the process of downloading and importing extra forScore stamps.]

If you use the forScore iPad app for reading and annotating music, you can download and import additional stamps for marking your music.  This website has several sets of downloadable forScore stamps including arrows, music notation symbols in different colors, and “watch the conductor” eyeglasses.  Of particular interest to singers: the website also has stamps for breath marks and IPA symbols for lyric diction.

Screenshot of forScore Stamps website

I like using stamps in forScore because I can make legible markings more quickly.  E.g., if I try to write in a comma/breath mark with a stylus or my finger, it takes me about five tries before it looks like something other than a random squiggle.

For instructions on how to import stamps into forScore, check out their user guide.

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