Today, I want to share with you some of the technological gadgets that I use to perform, specifically in chamber music concerts. As a pianist, I love performing with other instrumentalists and vocalists, but I always lament about having to carry a ton of sheet music, which can get really heavy and burdensome when traveling abroad!
About a few years ago, I started performing more and more with my iPad, using score reading and annotation apps such as ForScore, in combination with a Bluetooth-powered pedal, AirTurn. While there are a number of apps and devices out there, I'd like to briefly share my most recent experience with a game-changing app developed by German publishing house, G. Henle Verlag.
I just came back from a trip where I performed a concert of the complete Brahms violin and piano sonatas. I used the Henle app to prepare (and perform) for this concert, but here is where it outshines all other score reading apps: it is elegant in display and design with user-friendly functionality while staying true to the company's motto in providing high-quality urtext editions of sheet music. To me, this revolutionizes how one studies, performs, and teaches music. Now, one can purchase these Urtext digital editions and load them in the comfort of their tablets.
The process is simple. Simply download the app from the Apple store. Once you are finished, open the app and sign up for an account. Then, you can peruse the Henle store, where they have an exhaustive catalogue.
In order to purchase the music, you will need to buy credits (10 credits=1 Euro). The more you the buy; the more you save. You can see from my screenshot above that I splurged a little! Once you purchase the music, it will show up in "My Library." That's it, pretty simple! Plug and play.
Here are some unique features of the app: built-in metronome and recording device, facsimile of autograph, fingerings by famous musicians, source commentary, preface remarks, and option to print your notated score. This app is comprehensive and impressive––a must-have for musicians, performers, educators, and students!
If I had one suggestion for the app, it would be that I wish it had a feature where you can do half-page turning––allowing you to see the bottom half of the current page and the top half of the following page. This way, it can make the page turns a bit easier and more seamless for some of the more difficult passages.
If you choose to perform with this groundbreaking technology, be sure to practice using it before you use it in a concert. For pianists, coordinating your right foot for the sustain pedal and your left foot for the bluetooth can be a little tricky. For those wondering if there will be any delay in response time from the external device to the iPad: it is virtually negligible.
I highly recommend this app––it certainly reshapes how we study and perform music!
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