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Thread: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll...

  1. #1
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    Default How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll...

    My band has a lot of songs we like to play, and I am looking for an iPad app that will display each song, and then scroll through it (think of "Sing Along With Mitch" if you're old enough...). My detailed situation is listed below. Does anyone know of an app that will do this?

    1. Each song is written up in a text editor (NotePad on a MSFT computer). Chords are embedded with square brackets. Example: to have an A minor chord display over the word "crying", I would key in "cry[Am]ing".
    2. Load the text file into this website: http://davetaflin.no-ip.org/chord2pdf.html This creates a nice PDF file that can be printed and saved. We save the completed PDF files in a shared DropBox folder for easy access. Each song has the full lyrics with the chord changes above the lyrics in the appropriate places.
    3. I would like to set up a playlist so that the songs play in that order on the iPad. For songs that take up more than one screen I would like the screen to slowly scroll, like a teleprompter, through each song.
    4. Ideally the app would provide the flexibility to set different scrolling speeds for each song.

    I've been trying to find an inexpensive app for this but I haven't had any luck. Do you all have any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Rob

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    I don't know if this will fit your needs, but I've been using the GigBook app:

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/deepd...373676401?mt=8

    My usage is a little different from yours. I mainly use it as a set list reference, with notes on key signature and arrangement details. Just a few tunes have full chord charts that I create myself using openoffice Writer's PDF export function, and I don't use it for lyrics. GigBook is designed mainly for direct PDF import, although you can make internal listings and notes for tunes without a PDF attached. It should import any PDF you create from another program.

    GigBook works well for what it does. It has the essential feature of locking out the iPad's sleep function when the app is running, in case you forget to set that. Whatever app you use for this, make sure it has that feature. Nothing worse than having your screen go black in the middle of a song when you're reading a chart or lyrics!

    GigBook doesn't auto-scroll, but I think it supports bluetooth pedals for page turning. That sounds more practical to use during a performance. I can imagine band trainwrecks if the iPad auto-scrolled too slow or too fast, and wasn't matching where the band was in the song.

    There are other apps out there, and some may be more suited to what you want to do. You might want to check out this Songbook Chordbook Pro app (I haven't tried it):

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/songb...392888837?mt=8

    You'll probably get other recommendations here.

    One final note about this, which you may have already considered. Like reading lyrics or chords off sheet music at a gig, this is something that can create a barrier between you and the audience. I try to keep my iPad on its mic stand mount off to the side, and at a fairly low level. I just glance at every now and then, more as a reminder than something I constantly stare at, during a gig. If this is just for band rehearsal, that's one thing. But for a performance, don't let cool technology like this get in the way of relating to your audience, or interacting with your other band members.

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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Setlist is another useful ipad app, although I'm using Gigbook a lot now since their latest upgrades. I wouldn't go on stage if I needed anything more than a setlist.
    Mike
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Take a good look at OnSong. It is an amazing and versatile program, that can easily replace all your notebooks of song lists, sets, lyrics and chords. I love it. Check it out, as it can even transpose your songs into any key on the fly, and display or share your songs however you like.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    ...I wouldn't go on stage if I needed anything more than a setlist.
    This is the question that popped immediately into my head when I read the first post. I've been blessed (cursed?) with a freak memory for song lyrics, so much so that my fellow musicians sometimes act like I know every song -- which I surely don't.

    But I'd be a bit "underwhelmed" by a band which had to read lyrics and chords for its repertoire, off some variant of the Tele-Prompter. One of my good friends plays in a quite competent bluegrass quartet, but nearly every one of their performances finds them grouped around a music stand, on which resides a big three-ring notebook of lyrics and chords. I guess replacing that with an iBook would make for a somewhat "cleaner" onstage look, but it doesn't seem like a substitute for learning the songs so that they can be performed without prompting.

    Don't want to sound snobbish, but perhaps discarding this "musical crutch," might be better than searching for the ideal app to continue using it...?
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Don't want to sound snobbish, but perhaps discarding this "musical crutch," might be better than searching for the ideal app to continue using it...?
    Agreed, and that's why I added the cautionary note in the last paragraph of my post. I think something like this can substitute for the dog-eared, beer stained paper set list on the floor, but using it for lyrics or chords throughout the set isn't very professional.

    For me, the big advantage (vs. the dog-eared paper version) is being able to create a set list with annotations like this, as a quick-glance reference:

    http://a1.mzstatic.com/us/r1000/083/...480x480-75.jpg

    I did a few gigs last year where I was a temporary side man playing mandolin and Dobro for a guitarist/singer duo. They had a habit of throwing new songs at me with less than a week's notice and one rehearsal (if that), before the gig. For last-minute additions like that, having the info on GigPad was great. If you drop a song from the set list, and pull it back in for a later gig, all the info is right there. But yeah, don't abuse it.

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Thanks for the great feedback, all. Our band is a group of boat club members, and our public performances to date have been limited to club functions. The three of us who do most of the singing have not memorized the lyrics to the songs we play, so we all rely on our notebooks. I have noticed in our last two performances that staring at our notebooks does create an unwelcome barrier between us and the audience, so I will see if we can memorize our "ready for prime time" pieces. Your comments in that area are spot-on.

    We all have day jobs and play for love, not money. In fact we have turned down opportunities to play real paying gigs because we value the time with our respective spouses more than the cash we would make. Six of the seven of us are married and none of our spouses are in the band, so we have carved out three hours every Saturday morning to play together. It's the highlight of the week for most of us. Which is a long-winded excuse for not memorizing our songs... :-).

    Thanks again for the great feedback - this is a great site.

    Rob

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Quote Originally Posted by robster View Post
    It's the highlight of the week for most of us. Which is a long-winded excuse for not memorizing our songs... :-).

    Thanks again for the great feedback - this is a great site.

    Rob
    I hear ya, man...I agree with Alan and FP that your performance will suffer if you're focusing on the sheet music rather than interacting with the audience, but I suffer from CRCL disease, and the symptoms tend to be heightened in higher anxiety situations (ie, performance)..."Can't Remember Chords and Lyrics." I tend to need the lead sheets as a prompt...once going I'm usually OK.

    I have a friend who's an excellent guitar picker who does solo work around town a lot. He puts on a great show, but he has CRCL disease as well, and used to have his wife sit on the front row with index cards with lyrics on them for the second/third verses of songs. I doubt anyone noticed given the venues he was playing in. I remember one night at a friend's house he and I were playing and there were maybe 10 other folks singing along...we made it through 2/3 of a bunch of songs. Beverages were involved, but usually someone would be able to remember the next line, and after brief pauses we were off again. Had an absolute blast, but it was all for fun and definitely not a performance situation.

    Regardless, hope you find the program you need, as it sounds like you've got a good thing going. The pedal turn function could be useful, will have to check that out...
    Chuck

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Is there a USB port on the iPad? I have a USB device foot pedal page turner / scrolling control. I am using a small lap top rather than iPad. The best advice I ever got was from an old timer who said "Get past the paper and LEARN songs" I go to some open stage scenes and limit myself to doing stuff that I know by heart. Having said that I also go to a weekly jam where the confidence / competence level is so low that 80% of the folks need the books. It blows my mind how someone could still need chords and lyrics for Long Journey Home or New River Train, but they do.

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    I teach in my jam classes you got to learn the words and chords. I went to a jam last weekend and a bunch of people had books of words and chords. It was outside and when a wind came up it was fun watching them running around chasing papers. Learn a half dozen songs cold and go to a jam if people are taking turns picking songs you'll probably have enough tunes for the jam. Then solwly add to your rep.

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    A Friend, Flautist, sight reads , so she has the music on her I Pad.. IDK about any Apps.

    OLd Fart, my failing eyesight would need a bigger screen.. 11 x 14 .. but I dont sight read anyhow..
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    I have a couple friends who use their ipads for praise & worship church music. I'm not sure which app. It's ideal for changing keys at a moments notice and for a large rotation of songs. I'm thinking about it myself, but I'm not an Apple fan.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerard Dick View Post
    Is there a USB port on the iPad? I have a USB device foot pedal page turner / scrolling control.
    No USB port. There are USB adapters and the GigBook site says it supports USB for page turning, but I think most people are probably using a wireless Bluetooth pedal like the PageFlip Cicada or similar gadgets. If more than one iPad is being used for a group, you'd want to check that the pedals can be assigned to different channels. Otherwise it could get interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    OLd Fart, my failing eyesight would need a bigger screen.. 11 x 14 .. but I dont sight read anyhow..
    That's a consideration, for sure. The iPad isn't as large as a sheet of paper in a notebook, and you'd be scrolling or page turning for anything more than basic lyrics or an AA/BB fiddle tune in sheet music.

    There is a larger sheet music (and lyrics) display device that's been around for a while now, called the Freehand Musicpad Pro. The display is 12.1" diagonal vs. 9.7" for the iPad, so there's a little more real estate to work with. The Musicpad is used in some schools and orchestras, but with the high price compared to the iPad, I wonder if it will still be around in a few years. Still, it's something to consider if someone needs more display area.

    A laptop computer is the other way to get more screen area, but that's a bulky thing to manage on stage, and it can be even more distracting to the audience.

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Myself and some of the other players I jam with have iPads. We all use Onsong. It is an excellant app. They make peddles that you can sink with bluetooth to the iPad. It will allow you to scroll and change song with a step pf your foot. I would highly recomend the iPad and Onsong!
    To play or not to play? Well that's a silly question.

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    I wouldn't go on stage if I needed anything more than a setlist.
    The advice to LEARN your tunes is excellent, but keep in mind that each of us in our own unique situation. Our band, for instance, knows four or five hours worth of music by heart, but I also keep a giant three-ring binder full of material for requests and rabbit trails. My memory for lyrics is not as good as yours, so I do need the crutch from time to time.

    I too have seen people out of touch with their audience with their noses in the sheet music, but if the alternative is that they can only play six or seven tunes over and over, one might want to make a compromise. We all have our own ways of doings things and need not feel superior to those who do it diffrently

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelpthompson View Post
    We all have our own ways of doings things and need not feel superior to those who do it diffrently
    Nor defensive about it
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Does OnSong support melody charts like the RealBook?

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Our group knows about 80 songs. At my age I can't possibly remember the words to that many songs. I can't even remember my computer passwords.
    Last edited by Steve Ostrander; Jul-31-2012 at 1:53pm. Reason: typo
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    I recieved a set of airturn peddles to use with the iPad and Onsong last week. Excellant invention. No more scolling back and forth by hand or trying to get the auto scoll timed just right. Just step on the peddle and and scoll down, need to repeat a line step on the other peddle and scoll up. Works good with sheet music that you have repeat a section that was on the first page.
    To play or not to play? Well that's a silly question.

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    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    I used the UnrealBook for many months. It worked very well, and you can organize into song lists.
    Website: http://www.diystompboxes.com/unrealbook/
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    Rather late seeing this, but Linksoft SongBook is exactly what you need. There are versions for PC, Mac, Android, iPad etc. The trial version gives you full access to everything (the nag screen is, well, nagging).

    The app uses the .chopro or chordpro system which Chordie supports. You can edit your own files on Notepad

    http://linkesoft.com/songbook/

    Check out youtube for demos.. Oh yes, it scrolls. Adjustable, saveable speed. For 20 bucks don't even bother looking at anything else.

    I have no affiliation with these guys, just one very satisfied user

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    Fred Gilmartin Fred G's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    perform pro in the app store will do the adjustable, autoscroll etc. It is free or 1.99, can't remember. I was looking for something for setlists and ended up using gigbook... really works well.

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    MusicNotes works for me. The basic app is free. The PDF import feature is 9.95 I think. I use it to learn the song. Performing the song from a sheet is like walking and chewing gum, I can't do it.

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    I'll weigh in on the OnSong. Been using it about a week and really impressed for the $8. Scrolls with optional foot pedal or you can set scroll rate internally. Super easy to change key, size of lyrics, chords, title. Fast editing. Easy to upload, transfer via compressed files via email from band mates. I'm eager to try the feature that allows wireless exchange with another OnSonged iPad. It even searches the "internet"; in true Apple fashion it doesn't tell where it's looking but it works. A most annoying Apple feature...no USB. Every other tablet manufacturer has USB. Good grief. Can make set lists and add post-it notes. It will be a wonderful memory assistant, if I remember to bring it.

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    Default Re: How to replace a songbook with an iPad, need to auto-scroll..

    If reading music helps the quality of the music you play than use it by all means!
    After all it's about the music right?
    Of course certain types of music frown on using music (pop, rock, country, blues) and certain types of music frown on NOT using music (classical, big band jazz) !
    Isn't that strange. It's hard to reconcile. I know for sure I could play much better music with other musicians
    if they all knew how to read music! Problem is they don't, then they get all defensive when you try to use music,
    and treat you like YOU are unprofessional. Saying things like "dude, why do you need music!, my music is from the heart"
    Stuff like that, that well is fine that they play from the heart, but when you have 60 songs that rotate all the time and you
    play in different groups that all have 60 songs....well it gets hard to keep up with the different arrangements of the SAME song.
    Even simple songs, people take liberty with. I am coming from a rock perspective, but it applies to bluegrass and country also.
    I don't know how many people actually think they can play "Sweet Home Alabama" and then forget half the lyrics, don't play any of the breaks,miss most of the guitar fills and parts or make up some lead that they "improvise" that sounds nothing like the spirit of the original song, sure they know D, C and G chords but I think they almost disrespect the song because they don't honor the work that it takes to get it right. Don't get me wrong, I love to "jam" and improvise too, but when it comes down to it...I really want to have the music I play sound great. And alot of times that requires writing stuff out so that everyone knows where the breaks and changes are EXACTLY and unless you are a professional traveling band on the road for 300 days a year playing almost every night...you are going to forget....so again...if reading music helps the quality of your music...that is what people want to hear...but they also demand quantity...so whats the answer....well maybe its an iPad scrolling the music.

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