Introducing Avid Scorch for iPad

by Daniel Spreadbury on June 9, 2011 · 21 comments

in News

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We’re really proud to announce that we have today launched a brand new product for iPad on the iPad App Store called Avid Scorch.

Building on the legacy of the desktop Scorch plug-in, already in use by millions of musicians around the world, Scorch for iPad allows you to view, play back, transpose, mix and perform Sibelius scores on the go. And it includes an in-app store with more than 250,000 titles available for download, including thousands of free scores. Read on for more details.

Powered by Sibelius

There are lots of sheet music reading apps available for iPad already, but very few of them use a real music notation display engine to show music. 99% of the apps available to date simply display PDFs or other static images.

By contrast, Scorch for iPad uses the same music notation engine as Sibelius itself, which means you can directly open Sibelius content in Scorch and play it back, transpose it, view individual dynamic parts, adjust playback via the simple Mixer window, change tempo, and even change fonts if you like.

There’s never been a more powerful notation display built into an iPad application. And despite the fact that it’s the same heavyweight notation engine used by Sibelius on Windows and Mac, the performance is great: you can flip between pages quickly and easily simply by swiping on the device.

View your own scores

If you’re already a Sibelius user, you can now take your music with you on the go without first having to convert it to PDF or another image format. Sync using iTunes, or use the Dropbox app to download and open files directly in Scorch.

Scores are added to Scorch’s library, and you can view them in a beautiful bookshelf view or a handy grid view. Simply tap on a title to open it, and away you go.

Built-in store

Scorch for iPad is also the first sheet music viewer for iPad to have a built-in sheet music store using in-app purchasing, so you can purchase sheet music using your normal iTunes account — it’s as simple as tapping Buy, entering your Apple ID password, and waiting a few moments as the music is downloaded.

The Scorch store already contains more than 250,000 titles, including nearly 100,000 scores from SibeliusMusic.com, created by Sibelius users from all over the world, and nearly 150,000 titles from SheetMusicDirect.com, the joint venture between Hal Leonard and Music Sales, including all of the latest chart hits.

Music stand mode

Scorch is designed to be used in performance, too. It has a special Music Stand mode, which hides the (already minimal) toolbar and devotes the whole display to a page of music. Tap on the right-hand side of the screen to advance a page, and tap on the left-hand side to turn back: it’s quicker than turning an actual page because you don’t have to grab the corner of the page and physically turn it, plus the target is nice and big.

If you have a Bluetooth foot pedal, such as the AirTurn or the PageFlip, you can turn pages in Scorch simply by pressing the pedal, which is fastest of all. Pair Scorch up with an IK Multimedia iKlip (soon to be available for the iPad 2), and you’ve got a very handy performing setup.

And more besides

There’s so much more to Scorch: I’ve not mentioned the Mixer, the Keyboard display, the tempo controls, click during playback, support for dynamic parts, General MIDI-compatible playback, ability to change textures and fonts to make the music readable in all light conditions, and so on. I’ll return to some of these features in future posts.

Available now

Avid Scorch for iPad is available on the App Store right now for the introductory price of $4.99 US (converted into your local currency). Check it out, and let us know what you think!

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Adi June 9, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Actually, iKlip is now available for the iPad2 thanks to the snap-in adapters.:) http://youtu.be/cuK-2szm0Sc

Matti Sunell June 9, 2011 at 8:57 PM

What a lovely app. Here are some first impressions.

On the iPad, the whole screen is needed for music. I think margins are unnecessary, especially on a white iPad. By removing the page margins in Sibelius it is possible to fit more music on the iPad screen. It would be nice if Scorch could do this automatically. Also, the screen is closer to letter size than A4, so if I choose letter as page size in Sibelius, the score fits better on the screen.

Could the iPad’s black top bar be hidden in the music stand mode?

I brought some of my scores to Scorch via Dropbox. Next time I started Scorch the titles of the scores on the bookshelf had disappeared (same with the list view).

Paul Johns June 9, 2011 at 9:22 PM

How cool!

I have three suggestions:

1. Allow the app to load PDF files so that you can at least view the pages and turn them (using different paper/ink color would be nice, too). This would be excellent so that folks could access the huge number of scores available at places like IMSLP and CPDL that aren’t available in Sibelius format (and perhaps never will be).

2. Come out with an Android tablet version of the app. There aren’t many Android tablets yet, but there will be.

3. Come out with Mac/Windows versions–and make the Windows version work well on touchscreen PC’s.

This apps could be the app of choice for not only viewing/playing/modifying Sibelius scores, but for viewing PDF scores, which is currently pretty difficult to do well (for instance, to get pages turned accurately and displayed as large as possible with everything fitting, not to mention changing the background).

Excellent work!

Daniel Spreadbury June 9, 2011 at 9:23 PM

Thanks for the feedback, Matti. We know about the problem with custom-loaded scores disappearing after you quit and restart the app and hope to have a fix for that in the next few days.

Wheat Williams June 9, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Marvelous!

Dave Hildebrandt June 10, 2011 at 12:36 AM

I have been waiting for this since before the iPad was invented. I had a dream. You have made it reality. THANK YOU.

re: the Mixer: You are gods. My chorus distributes practice files with Scorch and the Mixer makes part isolation possible. Is the Mixer to be added to the Scorch that runs on regular computer browsers?

I am a forScore user (this is a PDF markup app for the iPad, and it has something Scorch for iPad sorely needs: the ability to get scores from the web. This business of having to attach to my machine to get scores is not very adroit. iTunes as file syncing mechanism: lame. Directly acquiring scores into the app via the internal radio: awesome.

forScore also has setlists. *that* should be easy for you guys to set up.

Nice work folks.
-d

Yanpeng June 10, 2011 at 2:31 AM

What we expect is Sibelius for iPad.

Steve W June 10, 2011 at 3:08 AM

This looks like a great app! I’ve been waiting to buy an iPad until something like this came out; good work!

Wheat Williams June 10, 2011 at 6:24 PM

I fear that you will have trouble marketing it under the name “Avid Scorch”. If the word “Sibelius” is not in the name of the product, there might be a big disconnect in the public realizing what the product is and what it does.

Notwithstanding, I believe the product itself has the correct strategy: Create music on a desktop or laptop computer in Sibelius, which costs a good deal of money, and distribute scores to be played back on an iPad on this player program, which is very inexpensive. Performers who buy the iPad player will be lead back to the “mothership” program of Sibelius and it will increase adoption and revenue.

Andrei June 10, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Great product!

But, I’m with Wheat on this one… I wish it would have been called “Sibelius Reader” or “Sibelius Player”, or just “Sibelius Scorch” (by Avid, if the suits insist…). Never underestimate the power of memes in marketing…

David Watt June 10, 2011 at 9:50 PM

A good start.

One easy feature you missed, though — other application can download files to the iPad, and then have the ability to send them to another application. (cf iPadMobile, for example.) I use that feature all the time to get PDF files into forScore (or GoodReader).

You didn’t provide that ability for Avid Scorch, which makes it really hard to download a file from the Internet and just view it. Tethering yourselves to iTunes is not the future, as I’m sure you know by now.

Looking forward to continued improvements!

Daniel Spreadbury June 10, 2011 at 10:21 PM

Actually, we did. You can open a file in e.g. Dropbox and send it directly to Scorch. I’m not familiar with iPadMobile, but in e.g. Dropbox you can choose a file, click the ‘Open With’ button, and choose to open the file directly in Scorch.

Stéphane June 11, 2011 at 2:45 PM

I’m optimizing PDF sheet music for iPad, do you plan to do that as an automatic tool right into Sibelius soon? I t would save us quite some time!

Benjamin June 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM

The one thing that makes this app not work for us is the inability to make custom playlists so that you don’t have to exit each song to go to another. I looked for a way to do this but didn’t see anything. If we could do this then we would say goodbye to paper scores. Any plans to add something like this? Love what you have so far!

Stephen Hough June 19, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Sibelius for iPad please … then we’re really talking!

Randall Campbell June 19, 2011 at 5:46 PM

I second the motion on playlists. The other feature that would be killer is the import and display of MusicXML files. This would allow us to have scores that we can transpose from multiple sources. I am a Sibelius user but don’t want to have to spend the time to import, clean up, then save them all in Sibelius just to be able to view them on the iPad. SeeScore is your only competition in this area so far, so you have an excellent opportunity here.

Simon Whiteside June 21, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Nice work!
Did you have to rewrite it all in objective-c :-( ?

Daniel Spreadbury June 21, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Graham and James had been chipping away at the shared libraries for a good couple of years before we actually started working on the project properly last year, so yes, there was a lot of rewriting necessary. It was worth it, though!

Simon Whiteside June 22, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Did you do it in Objective-C or C++, though?

Daniel Spreadbury June 22, 2011 at 8:48 AM

It’s a mixture. The underlying Sibelius engine is all still in C++, but the UI, views etc. are Obj-C.

Justin June 22, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Well done everyone – it’s very cool !

(I can’t believe we have finally got a digital music stand )

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