For years, I’ve lugged various binders from gig to gig that stored my music. Most of that has been in the form of single-sided sheets of chord charts, and as I have been actively gigging for the past 12 years, you can imagine how thick my main gig book has gotten. Well recently, I was at a funeral service where the musician used her iPad to display her music. After the service, I went to talk to her and she told me she was using an app called “forScore.” It’s a brilliant little app that is essentially a PDF viewer. It has gotten some rave reviews, and I _almost_ pulled the trigger on it. BUT, most of my stuff was in chord charts.
So I looked for guitar-related score apps, and came across some really cool ones. There were several in the Apps Store, but I couldn’t really choose; that is, until I came across a demo of LinkeSOFT SongBook. While all the apps out there had some great features, SongBook has some key features that got me to spend the measly $5.99:
- All song files are in ChordPro format. Files in this format are text files that contain formatting tags that affect the printed and display appearance. This is also a fairly ubiquitous format for sharing chord charts.
- SongBook also has a built-in web browser that searches for files with .pro, .chopro, and .txt extensions. But not only can it find the files, you can import them directly into SongBook!
- Because SongBook works on the ChordPro format, transposition is instantaneous, as the app simply parses the chord tags and makes the appropriate pitch changes.
- SongBook will also sync with DropBox (http://www.dropbox.com), which you can create for free for 2GB of space – more than enough to store literally thousands of text files!
- Finally, SongBook has a highly flexible Playlist manager. For instance, I had a bunch of my church songs in ChordPro format on my local drive. I dropped all of them into DropBox, synced SongBook with DropBox, then created a playlist of sacred music. Now when I play at Mass and need a song I wrote, it’s a couple of taps away! So awesome!
Here’s a great demo of SongBook:
Mind you, I’m not making a marketing pitch for the product. But this really has me excited because it means that I don’t have to lug my binder around any longer. Funny thing is that I don’t even use the chord charts any longer for songs I’ve done for years because I simply page through the book, find a song I want to do, and because I’ve memorized the song, I just start playing. I’ve tried to print out lists and go off them for gigs, but that has been tedious because I never do songs in the same order. Plus the damn book is 4-inches thick with songs! But now, I have an iPad that’s less than a 1/2-inch thick. And I won’t printing out pages any longer! So not only am I saving on gig weight, I’m also going green! Too cool!
Now, for sheet music, I think the best app out there is forScore, but I probably won’t get it until I’m back playing inside with the piano. Since I’m playing guitar exclusively for the summer, I really don’t need sheets. But hey! $4.99 is pretty cheap!