StaffPad was launched as a truly unique app for Windows tablets almost five years ago, allowing composers to jot down notes on a screen and convert handwritten music into a composed sheet music. When it was launched, StaffPad was described as “revolutionary” by professionals who expected such an application, but it was only available on Windows. Everything is changing today, as StaffPad debuts on the iPad with big improvements.
Handwriting recognition for music notation is StaffPad’s main selling point. This is now complemented by new sound libraries that allow you to play your score with the realism of a full orchestra, and a separate free Reader app that anyone can use to play a score on Windows tablets and the iPad. .
StaffPad has partnered with Spitfire Audio, Orchestral Tools, and Film samples to offer these sound libraries as in-app purchases ranging from $ 19.99 for steel drums up to $ 99.99 for percussion, strings and brass. This means that you can make your score sound like a full orchestra is playing it, if you want. “Previously, it would have been so complicated to try and do,” said David William Hearn, co-founder of StaffPad, in an interview with The edge. “You would need Logic Pro or Pro Tools, a sampler like Kontakt, a MIDI keyboard, an audio interface and all that expertise. This is all too complicated, I want to press play and hear my flute part and it sounds like a real flute.
While the new sound libraries will no doubt impress musicians, another big change to StaffPad is the new Reader app. It’s a free app that’s designed more for musicians than composers, and connects to StaffPad to view individual parts of a StaffPad score in real time on multiple iPads and Windows tablets. Imagine an orchestra replacing its paper scores with tablets that automatically follow the conductor’s score.
This new Reader application is available on iPad Where the Windows, and also includes a $ 12.99 in-app purchase that will allow playback of StaffPad’s built-in sound libraries. So if you are a musician who wants to perform your individual role within a larger orchestra, now you can. It opens up StaffPad to many other use cases, especially in education and even the ability for composers to share sheet music they’ve written for others to download and play.
StaffPad’s iPad app is identical to the Windows version, and the company has completely rewritten it to be cross-platform for iPadOS and Windows. Windows and iPadOS apps are now priced at $ 89.99, and the Windows Update will be available free to existing customers. StaffPad will even support Microsoft’s new Surface Pro X device with an updated ARM64 version of this app.
Since the launch of StaffPad nearly five years ago, competitors have slowly emerged to fill the iPad void with Apple Pencil support in 2016. Apps like Komp and Piascore have emerged, but critics love rating scores found that “StaffPad is much more accurate and reliable in its recognition than any of the competition. Hearn originally played on Windows 8 to launch StaffPad, but has spent the last three years working to bring it to iPad.
“We were looking at the iPad and thought it was great for browsing the web or reading magazines, but it’s too small to really work,” says Hearn. That all changed with the iPad Pro in 2016, and now the larger modern iPads all have some form of Apple Pencil support. Apple wants apps like StaffPad in its App Store, and Hearn reveals that “Apple took me to a room with security guards and revealed the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to me,” ahead of the public unveiling.
It all started the journey to bring StaffPad to the iPad and rebuild the app to be cross-platform. There aren’t many professional Windows apps built using Microsoft’s UWP platform and also available on iPad, which makes StaffPad a rare outlier. Thousands of StaffPad users have actually bought Surface hardware just to get StaffPad in the past, Hearn tells me. This obviously won’t happen the same way with the launch of the iPad which brings StaffPad to a much larger potential audience.
StaffPad debuts today in The Apple App Store for $ 89.99, and the updated Windows app is also available in the Microsoft Store. If you are interested in a full review of StaffPad and its new features, I recommend read the in-depth analysis of the application by the rating notes.