Playing from such a modern, user-friendly console led me to look at ways of using technology to solve the problem of turning the pages of music. A little over a year ago, I read an article about a harpist who used her iPad to display her gig music using software called ForScore. A month later, my partner bought me an iPad as a birthday gift, and my love affair with ForScore began.

 

ForScore displays music from PDF files. If you tap the right side of the screen, the page turns forward. If you tap the left side of the screen, the page turns backward. The ForScore website suggests various places that you can download music in PDF format, but I must admit that almost all of the music on my iPad is music which I scanned myself into PDFs, and then uploaded from the computer to the iPad using iTunes. Music stored on the iPad can be organized into various categories such as Preludes, Postludes, Hymns, Organ & Instruments, etc. Each piece of music can be resized so that it fills the screen. It's true that the iPad screen is smaller than a regular sheet of paper, but it is certainly larger than most hymnals. In some cases I used graphic editing software to take a hymn spread over two pages and conflate it into one page. It's not difficult to manipulate scanned images to arrive at something that is useful for your personal taste.

 

You can also add annotations to music stored in ForScore. You can write in your registrations, mark piston changes, expression crescendos and decrescendos, anything at all that you need to write on your music. You can make your notations as big or small as you like; mine are frequently big and red so that I don't miss them :)

 

ForScore allows you to create setlists. So for example, for each Sunday I create a setlist which contains my prelude and postlude, all the hymns, the psalm, the anthem, the service music, etc, organized in performance order. This means that when I arrive at the console on a Sunday morning, the only music I have with me is my iPad. I open the setlist, and start playing. Tapping the right side of the screen turns the pages from the top of the service to the bottom.

 

 

The one problem still existing was that often you simply don't have a spare hand to turn the music – think of the Widor Toccata, there's never a spare finger! The best way to turn pages is using a toe stud. So I added toe studs to the left and right of the expression pedals. These are connected to was is called an AirTurn, a small Bluetooth device which emits a wireless page up or page down signal. The iPad receives the wireless signal and turns the page, no problem -- right toe stud = turn forward, left toe stud = turn backward. You simply play away, and when it's time to turn the page, press the right toe stud and voila! It's magic!