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Posts tagged ‘scorecloud’

Music Making – Spring 2017

Here’s a glimpse at what software/apps I use frequently to explore and create music (notation-type apps).

There are many companies offering incredible music-making apps for mobile devices that make music creation easier and inexpensive (most free).  I have been a user of Finale for Mac for over 25 years.  With the advent of tablet technology over the past 8 years, my allegiance has changed supporting companies that are re-inventing music creation, and in a mobile manner.

Finale is my absolute preference for large score, orchestral works, however, they have produced nothing for composing ‘on the go’ via a mobile device.  Their $600 US hefty entry fee for their flagship software stops me from recommending it to few.  It will become a relic of the past.  They have student prices and other entry level software packages with less features, however mobile apps offer an impressive alternative, especially with the aid of a stylus, sampling and creating sounds, and work almost anywhere capabilities.

Notion offers the most beautiful, sampled instrument sounds (London Symphony Orchestra) on all their versions, desktop and mobile devices.  Working ‘on the go’ is extremely important to capture ideas while sitting on the bus or subway, then continuing at home or work via cloud technology.  Notion allows this from finger-gestures, Apple Pencil, music keyboard, and mouse input.  Thumbs up, Notion (PreSonus)!

[Personal note: each orchestral instrument has various techniques as sampled sounds included, for example, French Horn includes hand-stopped or muted notes and glissandi.  This is one of the many reasons I use Notion for its ease of use to add these effects or articulations.  Check out my brass piece, ‘I Saw Three Ships’ on SoundCloud that demonstrates this.]

On the bus or subway – iPhone or iPad


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Notion for iPhone/iPad

Symphony Pro 4

Symphony Pro 4 $9.99 US

SP5 Public Preview Signup Firefox, Today at 10.50.38 AM

Symphony Pro 5 Beta

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Symphony Pro

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GarageBand for iOS

GarageBand for iOS is an absolute favourite, now updated with more performance capabilities.  I will celebrate the day when they add notation capabilities.

Personal note: This app awaits its entry into schools to help visualize music for so many disinterested students having to endure a skill or knowledge-based curriculum, rather than a holistic, creation-based one.  Share your thoughts on this, please.


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Stave’n’Tabs for iOS

In this example, Stave’n’Tabs handles triplets fairly well compared with other music notation apps.  I’ll keep my eye on this app over the next year.

Teaching or at home: iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, MacBook, iMac


SCORECLOUD | Free Music Notation Software - Music Composition & Writing Online Firefox, Today at 11.29.29 AM.png

ScoreCloud Studio Mac or PC -Free with upgrades

ScoreCloud is known for its ease of input by a variety of means, especially great for school use with students inputting their music by keyboard, voice, or recorder!

Music Notation Software. Create Sheet Music with Finale Music Firefox, Today at 11.34.16 AM.png

Finale for Mac                                      $600 US


Notion 6 for Mac     $154 US

Music Notation Software. Create Sheet Music with Finale Music Firefox, Today at 11.34.16 AM.pngSave



Melody Creation Apps

Here’s my recommended melody notation apps in no specific order for suggested Grades 3 – 6 students, with the exception of ScoreCloud.  ScoreCloud is for almost any age that can use a computer, tablet or phone.

My reasons for these choices include:

  • longevity (app has been for a while)
  • app allows for quick melody creation and playback for feedback
  • relatively easy to use
  • attractive presentation
  • most incorporate or support chord-based melody writing basics
  • some explore use of chords, bass, and rhythm (drum patterns)
  • most have some form of sharing capability (Audio and/or MIDI)

Advice to educators: use the chosen app and demonstrate your work; spend time getting to know its possibilities and limitations… no surprises

Melody Writing Apps Feb. 2016


Music Creation Apps Oct. 2015

Recommended music apps October 2015

‘On the Go’ Evolution

We’ve all used our mobile devices for texting, updating social media sites, and for utilising the Internet for almost instant information ‘on the go’.  One of my interests is looking at ways we can use these same devices for translating what we sing into traditional music notation, and what is spoken into ‘voice dictated’ text, usable and sharable.

Planning on the Go Cover

There are numerous apps that support voice dictation and provide impressive ways to share what is produced.  Apple’s own Mail app allows for voice dictation in real time, allowing you to see what you say.  ScoreCloud’s mobile version (ScoreCloud Express) allows for a jaw-dropping traditional notation translation of what you sing with a little practice.  Soon you will see it’s capabilities and potential for use in many facets of daily life, most particularly in education.  Most importantly, it allows ‘on the go’ use to work from anywhere you have a WiFi or 3G or 4G connection (best scenario).

Creating Music 'on the go'

The following infographics are part of my Mobile Technology and the Music Programme Keynote, which I recently presented in Singapore to a large group of inspired and talented international music educators.  Closer to home, I am testing these apps with a variety of students to further my understanding and potential.  Share your thoughts!  Email me with any questions or comments.

Creating Text 'on the go'

“I Can’t Sing”

“Sorry, I’m Tone Deaf”

Numerous times in my educational career, students and adults have told me they can’t sing, sing off key, or were told they don’t have a good, singing voice.  This shuts them down, void of the incredible emotional and artistic benefits to humming, singing, and simple vocal expressions that can make us unique.  As a lover of music creation, I am aware of the connection between my musical thinking and ways to articulate it, including singing and the use of the tongue to ‘tap’ out the rhythms of a more complex melody or pattern.  This connection is quick and discrete.  As a brass player, tonguing was incorporated into the way I practiced orchestral parts ‘on the go’ adding the ‘tonguing’ technique as I sang the part (single, double and triple tonguing).

I have noticed an increase in apps that allow singing or humming into your device for sound creation and notation.  These apps promote a love for singing, especially for those who are shy, or lack the connection to the emotional uplift singing can provide.  In the privacy of your headphones, these apps open a new world of sound creation, all triggered by your voice… no keyboards or keys on an instrument to learn.  Many have a built in pitch tuning function that encourages slight pitch modification to better the overall sound.   I recommend the use of headphones, especially with Vio.  These apps allow for recording and sharing with others and to other apps (inter-app audio apps) in many cases.  Explore, create and innovate your unique sound!


Vio on the App Store on iTunes at 7.24.15 pm


ScoreCloud Express för iPhone, iPod touch och iPad från App Store i iTunes at 6.57.10 pm

ScoreCloud Express

Top 5 Music Creation and Notation Apps

Recently, I presented two full day workshops for music educators in Hong Kong on Mobile Technology and the Music Programme and GarageBand (iOS) Cranked Up! for the 21st Century Learning International.

In no specific order, here are my Top 5 Music Creation (and notation) Apps that were presented to the educators.

Top 5 Mobile AppsI’ve tested and composed a typical, smaller orchestral score on most of these apps looking at the following areas:

  • ease of use on a iPad or mobile phone
  • logical functions
  • quality of sounds (sampled pro sounds)
  • keyboard and/or guitar real time input of music
  • inter-app audio and Audiobus compatibility
  • share and export features to email, other apps, for computer use (MIDI, MusicXML)
  • overall ability to use ‘on the go’ as a mobile composer

GarageBand for iOS

Music Studio



Symphony Pro

Please email me if you’d like any further details, or if you have any questions.

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