PDA

View Full Version : Sheet music reader



philrab66
08-27-2017, 11:45 AM
Hi all
I am looking for a free android music reader app. Just to store pdfs in alphabetical order and maybe some sets. Any suggestions?
Thanks Phil.

Tootler
08-27-2017, 11:05 PM
If it's a free app to access and organise PDFs, any decent PDF reader will do the job. If you don't mind paying a little, I find Orpheus a good music organiser. It's simple but it does have facility to set up set lists. I like its simplicity. Mobile Sheets is another alternative but the free version is very limited and you really need to buy the pro version (the same is true of Orpheus, btw). It's more sophisticated than Orpheus and costs more but neither cost all that much. I got both but found I was going to Orpheus all the time as it works for me. It uses your filestore for organisation and lets you link to Dropbox. With Mobile sheets you import your files to the App.

Choirguy
08-28-2017, 01:22 AM
This is my area of expertise in the field of music education. While the iPad has a number of good PDF music readers (which offer special tools for musicians, such as set lists, hotspots, and annotation), other platforms are limited. There is even one decent free app on iPad--although I wouldn't not use it with students.

The best-in-class is a paid app, which Tootler already stated: Mobile Sheets. You could also try a web-based service such as Gustaf.

Incidentally, if you buy a new Samsung Chromebook Pro, (some of) the new Chromebooks run Android, and there is a class of chromebook like the Samsung Chromebook Pro that flips and becomes a tablet. I know of one performer who is using Mobile Sheets on their Chromebook Pro, and they are pleased with it.

I understand the desire for free apps, but I recently stumbled upon an old yet unopened Music Pad Pro, which came out a couple of years before the iPad. It was $899 and was only used for sheet music. It was a good device based on the original Windows tablets (5 pounds, 12'1" screen, 3" thick)...but then the iPad came out for hundreds less, and it could not only show sheet music, it could be used for hundreds of things. Then other companies followed quickly with Android tablets. At any rate, the paid versions of the apps are quite inexpensive in comparison, and buy buying, you allow developers to continue to develop--and often avoid pop-up ads and in-app purchases for every feature of the app (freemium model).

There are a few people using Android tablets, including one person (perhaps it was Kohan Mike, if memory serves) that has a widescreen tablet where he reformat every song to fit that screen.

Rllink
08-28-2017, 03:21 AM
If it's a free app to access and organise PDFs, any decent PDF reader will do the job. If you don't mind paying a little, I find Orpheus a good music organiser. It's simple but it does have facility to set up set lists. I like its simplicity. Mobile Sheets is another alternative but the free version is very limited and you really need to buy the pro version (the same is true of Orpheus, btw). It's more sophisticated than Orpheus and costs more but neither cost all that much. I got both but found I was going to Orpheus all the time as it works for me. It uses your filestore for organisation and lets you link to Dropbox. With Mobile sheets you import your files to the App.
I know what Dropbox is, but what is filestore? Does Orpheus have to have an internet connection to access the files with your music? Mobilesheets allows me to link up to my Dropbox and import them from there. Is that what you are doing with it?

I looked for a free app for my Kindle and didn't find anything accept Mobilesheets, which Choirguy recommended. So I installed the free Mobilesheets and played around with it a bit. I liked it, but the free one is very limited in how many songs you can put in it. So I went with the Mobilesheets Pro,which didn't cost a lot, as I remember. I think that the Pro is worth the money over the free one, but the free one let's you see if you are going to like it. But I haven't tried anything else to compare it with.

UkerDanno
08-28-2017, 04:04 AM
You don't need an app. Just put all your pdf's in a directory and you can find and view them easily. I have mine on an SD card, so it's easy to put it in my computer for editing/adding.

kohanmike
08-28-2017, 06:53 AM
Yes, Choirguy is correct, I specifically bought an Android 13.3" tablet ($120) with MobileSheets Pro for music after using my iPad 9.7" with OnSong and ForScore. The iPad was too small for me and the iPad Pro 12.9" was too expensive to use just for music, and I find MobileSheets Pro to be a much better app than OnSong or ForScore, and it's made for Windows 10 also.

The one shortcoming of the Nuvision tablet is that no stylus will work properly. I have been using my finger, but can't get too detailed on the screen. I looked at the new Windows Pen and Apple Pencil, but the 12"+ tablets run from $700 to $1000. Then I did a search and found a 13.5" Chuwi from China that runs Windows 10 or Android, with a stylus for $400 so I ordered it. I'm taking a chance the stylus will be as good as the Apple Pencil and Windows Pen, it's specs are very much like them.

Choirguy
08-28-2017, 06:01 PM
You don't need an app. Just put all your pdf's in a directory and you can find and view them easily. I have mine on an SD card, so it's easy to put it in my computer for editing/adding.

This is absolutely true...you can use any PDF reader. That said, the music PDF readers have a lot of features specifically for musicians and all of them guarantee a left/right page turn versus a up/down scrolling PDF.

Choirguy
08-28-2017, 06:11 PM
...I find MobileSheets Pro to be a much better app than OnSong or ForScore, and it's made for Windows 10...

I did have to comment on two things here...

1) It is absolutely fine to prefer Mobile Sheets over other platforms, but owning the latest iPad Pro 12.9" and an Apple Pencil, as well as running Mobile Sheets on an Android tablet and a Chromebook...In my opinion, forScore is the best PDF music reader on any platform, exponentially so. However...I am a music educator as much as I am a musician, so maybe it just has better tools for me?

2) My go-to source for information about non-iOS PDF music readers is Michelle Martin, who blogs at violajack.blogspot.com. She, too, has been back and forth to iOS, but her heart is with Windows and she is also giving the new Chromebook Pro a solid try. She recently warned that the Windows version of Mobile Sheets is not up to par with the Android version...causing her to use a Chromebook in performance instead of a Windows tablet! So, just be aware. There is one other PDF music solution, really the first PDF music reader, which is called Music Reader PDF, at http://www.musicreader.net. It isn't a cheap solution at $35, but it is another solution. (And really, the price is what we probably should be paying for such an incredible tool).

kohanmike
08-28-2017, 08:33 PM
I've been testing MobileSheets Pro on my new Windows 10 tablet for the last few hours and for everything I do, it works the same as the Android version. The pen is far better than I expected, good with fine detail (though the Apple Pencil is better). There must be features I don't use with which your friend has problems.

Tootler
08-28-2017, 10:24 PM
I know what Dropbox is, but what is filestore? Does Orpheus have to have an internet connection to access the files with your music? Mobilesheets allows me to link up to my Dropbox and import them from there. Is that what you are doing with it?

I looked for a free app for my Kindle and didn't find anything accept Mobilesheets, which Choirguy recommended. So I installed the free Mobilesheets and played around with it a bit. I liked it, but the free one is very limited in how many songs you can put in it. So I went with the Mobilesheets Pro,which didn't cost a lot, as I remember. I think that the Pro is worth the money over the free one, but the free one let's you see if you are going to like it. But I haven't tried anything else to compare it with.

Filestore is simply where your files are stored. Either the built in storage on your tablet or the SD card you can plug in. Basically with Orpheus, you organise your music files into folders and tell Orpheus where those folders are. If you do it in Dropbox, it makes it easier to update. You set up a Dropbox link and you can then access the files from Dropbox. You do need to have wifi connection first time but Orpheus will cache the files so you can work offline.

Tootler
08-28-2017, 10:40 PM
I did have to comment on two things here...

1) It is absolutely fine to prefer Mobile Sheets over other platforms, but owning the latest iPad Pro 12.9" and an Apple Pencil, as well as running Mobile Sheets on an Android tablet and a Chromebook...In my opinion, forScore is the best PDF music reader on any platform, exponentially so. However...I am a music educator as much as I am a musician, so maybe it just has better tools for me?


The last part of that is key. It's what works best for you as well as what's available on your chosen device.

Rllink
08-29-2017, 03:48 AM
Filestore is simply where your files are stored. Either the built in storage on your tablet or the SD card you can plug in. Basically with Orpheus, you organise your music files into folders and tell Orpheus where those folders are. If you do it in Dropbox, it makes it easier to update. You set up a Dropbox link and you can then access the files from Dropbox. You do need to have wifi connection first time but Orpheus will cache the files so you can work offline.
Okay, I use Mobilesheets much the same way. I find music on my laptop and put it into Dropbox, then import it and store it in the Mobilesheets all on the Kindle. I also have the ultimateguitar.com app on my Kindle and I use it almost as much as Mobilesheets, and you can access you favorites without a connection.

Booli
08-29-2017, 04:14 AM
Filestore is simply where your files are stored. Either the built in storage on your tablet or the SD card you can plug in. Basically with Orpheus, you organise your music files into folders and tell Orpheus where those folders are. If you do it in Dropbox, it makes it easier to update. You set up a Dropbox link and you can then access the files from Dropbox. You do need to have wifi connection first time but Orpheus will cache the files so you can work offline.

Geoff - which device are you using again?

Correct me if needed, but you are also running Linux, yes? (I am on Xubuntu)

Do you have any issues with reading the internal storage or SD card via USB to transfer files to/from Linux?

What Linux program, if any, do you use to edit/annotate or manage your PDF files, Calibre?




Okay, I use Mobilesheets much the same way. I find music on my laptop and put it into Dropbox, then import it and store it in the Mobilesheets all on the Kindle. I also have the ultimateguitar.com app on my Kindle and I use it almost as much as Mobilesheets, and you can access you favorites without a connection.

Rollie - Which Kindle are you using?

Do you find the screen resolution enough to see the text and chord diagrams?

I see the Kindle always at a tempting price, and I have other iOS and Android devices, but the Kindle is almost disposable for the cost when on promo sale, and they have a 'Kids' version that has a built-in heavy rubber bumper case which seems like it would be more able to handle being tossed around in a carry bag and for gigging and uke fests, rather than need to get something like an Otterbox, or heavy vinyl case at additional cost.

I could just cut a slab of plexiglass or ABS and use a rubber band to hold it on to protect the screen from impact if I went with a 'kids' version of the Kindle...(or any tablet with a heavy rubber/silicone sleeve)



kohanmike - like you, I too have readability concerns, and even now need a new and stronger prescription because to read the screen on my 4" phone, I have to hold it at arms length otherwise the text is blurred, and it seems bifocals are in my future - so is is really necessary to get a larger tablet like the 12-13" size, or do you think that the pixel density on the 7" tablets, whether iPad Mini, Android 7" or Kindle 7" are good enough?

I do not know why I would be concerned about using a stylus vs. my finger, since so far I am ok with using a finger for most other tablet functions, what app or activity are you doing that requires such precision?



My interest here like many of you, is for a dedicated tablet for music sheets, with some editing/notation features if possible, since I'd rather not have to create and drag around one or more 3-inch, 3-ring binders will all the pages in plastic sheet protectors if I can help it.

I have not used dropbox yet, but would do so, or use my existing 15gb of storage on Google Drive or the FTP space on my own domain for remote sync and backup (maybe even setup a self-hosted Nextcloud). I prefer not to rely on 3rd-party services though, and my own FTP space is unlimited and PDF files are not big enough to warrant an upgraded monthly or annual storage plan...

edited to add: I also have a Mac Mini running Sierra that I use for songwriting with GarageBand and iTunes to manage my iOS devices, so if an app has a desktop companion for Mac or Linux I am leaning that way, (after nearly 25 yrs of DOS and Windows) I will never use Windows (aka the spyware & malware OS) again, even at gunpoint, I'll eat the lead rather than be parasitically abused by Microsoft.

Any and all ideas regarding the above are welcome.

Rllink
08-29-2017, 05:02 AM
Booli, it is an HD8, sixth generation. I like it pretty well, although it does have its limitations. Probably the worst, and the best aspects of it is the small size. But most of the songs that I play out and about I already know, so just something to keep me from going off the rails is enough. Otherwise, just entertaining myself, it doesn't really make any difference. Also, I have pretty good eyesight. Another downside is that it is a walking Amazon advertisement, but I'm good at ignoring that. I don't know if you are tough on things, or if you just like the idea of indestructability that you get by protecting it, but the upside of the Kindle's small size for me is that as it is, you can stick it in your pants pocket, or the pocket of your gig bag and it takes up such little space you hardly know you have it. A big plus for me, because I usually go someplace to play my ukulele, and I generally have my uke in one hand and a rum and Coke in the other. So being able to shove the Kindle someplace is handy. I don't say that tongue in cheek either, I don't like to pack up stuff just to walk to the park to play my uke, so the ability to put it in the cargo pocket of my shorts is nice. Anyway, it isn't perfect, but it was cheap, it is quite portable, and I get along okay with it.

Booli
08-29-2017, 05:37 AM
Thanks Rollie.

I've seen articles online for ways to remove the Amazon 'interface' that sits on top of the base Android OS on a Kindle, as well as ways to reformat a Kindle to have a base Android install, (aka jailbreaking or running a 3rd-party firmware like LineageOS)

and the reason one might do this is to remove Amazon's software since these devices pretty much exist solely to get you to buy more stuff from Amazon, but all that software gyrating in the background is likely to impact battery life, while also being a privacy concern for me.

But I was hoping that the build quality of the newer Kindles would be similar to an Apple device or a Google Nexus or Samsung Android device as opposed to some random Chinese tablet maker that has raced to the bottom on price - I mean a $100 tablet is no bargain if the charging jack breaks off in 3 months or they used the bad lithium batteries that are known to easily catch fire, or the screen is low resolution, pixelated and based upon 15 yr old display tech that's not readable in daylight.

OTOH, a Kindle Paperwhite may solve lots of readability issues for outdoor viewing, and there is a free program called Calibre e-Reader that runs on Mac/Win/Linux and can convert to/from many formats, including PDF and the native epub or mobi formats that the Kindle likes. I have used it to convert PDF and text files I got from Project Gutenberg to read on one of the older 6" silver non-touch screen Kindles, and all formatting from the PDF files was preserved in the converted files when viewed on the Kindle. The issue with something like the Paperwhite is the pixel density of the E-ink display and I do not think that a full letter-sized page would have readable content when zoomed to fit the entire page...but I could be wrong...

I'm sorry for the tangent here folks, just trying to follow all the options, and I apologize if I have derailed the thread. Please dont be upset with me...

Rllink
08-29-2017, 05:54 AM
Booli, I think that there are a lot of things that you could do with it to make it less "Amazon" centric. I just make do. But for the price, you don't have much to lose by going after it. But also, I know that there are lots of people who buy from Amazon, and if that is the case, the Kindle fire makes that easy.

kohanmike
08-29-2017, 09:14 AM
kohanmike - like you, I too have readability concerns, and even now need a new and stronger prescription because to read the screen on my 4" phone, I have to hold it at arms length otherwise the text is blurred, and it seems bifocals are in my future - so is is really necessary to get a larger tablet like the 12-13" size, or do you think that the pixel density on the 7" tablets, whether iPad Mini, Android 7" or Kindle 7" are good enough?

I do not know why I would be concerned about using a stylus vs. my finger, since so far I am ok with using a finger for most other tablet functions, what app or activity are you doing that requires such precision?

I've had bi-focals for a few years, which I decided to do along with a slight correction for distance and also sun-sensor, so all I do is put on my glasses in the morning when I wake up and take them off when I go to sleep, never have to deal with reading glasses, sun glasses and what to do with them all day long.

I only use the stylus for writing notation, not navigating. During rehearsal our leader will notice an error in her charts, like an incorrect word or chord in the wrong place, plus I make my own bass arrangements on my Mac and sometimes have to make a correction on the fly on my tablet. Most are too small for my finger to do.

Sabantien
08-30-2017, 04:52 PM
I quite like Mobile Sheets. SO much so I even bought the paid version.

Issues I have run into are basically my tablet being a bit small, and some android updates mess with SD storage and apps accessing it. So I had a lot of drama reconnecting all the files. I also did something wrong with the last bunch I imported, it can't find them, and I chose a setting which did terrible things to the formatting, but that was user error.

I don't think I found a way to scroll either, but I believe you can get bluetooth foot pedals for turning pages, I just haven't gone that far.
Would also work better if I had a stand for it, because my case sits it up in landscape so I can use the keyboard, which is why I'd like an auto scroll option. (I suspect it's there, but the guide is MASSIVE!)