Have you ever wanted to be able to take a PDF file and play it with a music notation program? How about playing it on your iPad? Well, you can with a few simple steps! During a Finale course I took this summer, I was reintroduced to PhotoScore, a scanning a program that I purchased a few years ago and then failed to update! This program came highly recommended to me a few summer’s ago and so I thought I’d give it one more try. First, I needed to upgrade my copy. With the help of the kind people at Neuratron, I was able to purchase an upgrade via a simple link!
Once installed, I opened PhotoScore and located the “Open PDFs” button in the top menu bar. I chose a simple folk song to open to give this a test run! After opening the PDF, PhotoScore performed its magic and I was seeing the notation in seconds! I was able to make any corrections to the lyrics or notation in PhotoScore. The notation came in perfectly but there were a few small edits needed for the lyrics. I decided to take care of these in Finale!
Once finished, I went to Save As and choose MusicXML as the format. Now it was time to open Finale and select “Import MusicXML” in the Launch Window. In a few seconds, the PDF which was converted to MusicXML was now open in Finale! I made a few changes to the lyrics. If you need to change the key, you would do it now in Finale before opening the notation on your iPad! Save your file as a MUS file and you now have converted your PDF to a file that can play without entering a note!
Of course, you could stop here. However, remember my goal was that I wanted this file to play on my iPad. Since I save my critical files to DropBox, the next step was easy. [If you don’t have DropBox click on this link to get your free account!] I broke out my iPad and opened my DropBox App. After navigating to the folder where I saved the MUS file, I clicked on the file and then clicked on the Share button in the upper right hand corner and selected SongBook. Don’t be alarmed when you first click on file and see a large message that says “Unable to view file.” Just look for the share icon and you’ll be on your way.
If you are not familiar with Finale SongBook, it is a must have App if you are a Finale user and have an iPad. After choosing SongBook from the Share icon, the app immediately opened and my MUS file opened and appeared on the screen. At this point, you can play the file and change the tempo right from your iPad! Remember, you can’t change the key in SongBook so, as I suggested before, change the key in Finale before opening your iPad!
There are many other options for notation on your iPad! The key is to find the best solution for your personal goal and the most efficient way to accomplish your goal. Have fun exploring and trying other options.