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Thinking of purchasing an iPad just for this software.

edited December 2011 in General

I would like to get an iPad just to do composition on while I am on the move. So I was thinking of getting an iPad and SymphonyPro. But I would like a few questions answered before I make the jump (as my other option is to get a Macbook Air and install Sibelius).

Can you please help me with the follwoing questions :

1) It says 'Up to 12 tracks and 4 voices per composition'. So am I correct in thinking that I can only have 12 staves on a page and that only 4 of them can play at the same time? Is there any future plans to increase these? I mainly write for full orchestra and would require more staves and definitely an increase in the voice count.

2) Are you planing on adding more articulations to the application - especially strings ones? For example pizz, spiccato etc. Will these new articulations play back?

3) Does the app support creating scores in A3 (tabloid) size?

Sorry about all the questions, just want to make sure I can get what I need done before spending the money.



  • Hi Simsy,

    1. There will be more tracks (staves) in the next 2 updates. The current limit is 12 tracks/4 voices, and all of them play back simultaneously. The new limit depends on available resources, but it's safe to say 20 for iPad 2.

    2. Yes. We will continuously add new articulations.

    3. Thanks for letting us know. We have gotten requests in the past and I agree that a page-dimension setting is a must-have feature for creating printed sheet music. Expect it to arrive in version 2.4.

  • Simsy,

    You've got an interesting choice ahead of you.

    I love my iPad and I use it 95% of the time.  I literally use it as my "teaching device" in my classroom (high school choral) all day long.  I use my MacBook for iTunes, dealing with CDs or DVDs (burning or editing), and Finale.

    You're looking at an investment of $999 for the 64GB MacBook Air, plus another $239 for Sibelius (Educational Version).  Or you're looking at $499 for the 16GB iPad and $14.99 for Symphony Pro.

    As a teacher of high school music theory...I'd never invest in a MIDI lab again...I'd have (at the minimum) a set of classroom iPads with Symphony Pro installed.  The app is ideal for that situation.  It's a great improvement, even in terms of simplicity of use with some advancing features, than the entry-level products from Finale and Sibelius.  I'm a big supporter of this app, and I love that they keep improving it.  And it is REALLY important to note that the "big players" haven't come out with apps of their own.  Avid Scorch is great, but ultimately it's just a Sibelius file reader with playback capability (and a few other features, but it isn't for composition).

    But if you're going to be composing for professional use, I wouldn't go just iPad.  You're going to need the other features that a full-blown Sibelius or Finale will give you.  I don't hold that against Symphony Pro...Symphony Pro has been around less than 12 months.  Finale has been around since 1988, and Sibelius came out to the public in 1993 (it was started in 1986).  In other words, those programs have developed over time and should be feature rich.  I think Symphony Pro is pretty amazing--being on a device that the tech bloggers say is only for "consumption."  (I'm very critical of that opinion).

    You might want to consider some other options, however.  

    1. How about a used late-model MacBook, with a version of Sibelius, plus the iPad & Symphony Pro?
    2. Or any computer and the free notation software MuseScore, along with the iPad & Symphony Pro?

    Don't get me wrong...I love the MacBook Air, and it will be my next computer--but I'm waiting for my 2008 Aluminum MacBook to become outdated and for SSD drives to increase in size and drop in price.  Be aware that Sibelius 7 takes 35GB of storage space (or more).  That's 1/2 the hard drive on a entry-level MacBook Air.

    Good luck in your decision...if you get a chance, post with your finalized decision and follow up at a yet later point to let us know how things are going with your solution.
  • Hi

    Thanks for all your help and advice. I am looking at getting the iPad / Sympony Pro or Macbook Air / Sibelius mainly to let me get stuff down quickly when I am traveling or out and about.

    I have quite an extensive studio set up with a Mac Pro and sibelius / finale and I have it set up to use my orchestral libraries. So for doing full blown scores I am covered.

    I would like to go the iPad route because of the Mac Pro but as I mainly write for full orchestra I need to make sure that I can create full orchestral scores on it, hence the query about Voices, track count and Page size.

    Can I just clarify when you say 20 tracks on the iPad2 - does that mean 20 different instruments and can they all play back at the same time?

    Will you be adding the new articulations soon, it would be great to have the full string articulations available.

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