A significant update to StaffPad scoring software takes it to iPad for the first time and can now split parts to other devices over Wi-Fi.
StaffPad is a uniquely brilliant piece of score writing software originally released for the Microsoft Surface that would let you hand-write notation with the Surface pen and have it captured into perfect pages of score and MIDI playback. It took digital score writing away from the constraints of the mouse and back into the hands of the composer while retaining all the advantages of a digital platform. It’s elegant, beautiful and the handwriting recognition – the ability to pull notes from your handwritten scribbles – was fantastic.
David William Hearn, the creator of StaffPad, had always maintained that it needed the power of the Surface platform and accuracy of the Surface Pen to do the software justice and iOS and the iPad simply wasn’t up to the job. It’s been about 5 years since its release and in that time we’ve seen the iPad increase in power and the arrival of the iPad Pro and the vital Apple Pencil so it was only really a matter of time. It makes a lot of sense because the user base of the iPad must be huge compared to the Surface and it opens up this marvellous software to so many more people.
It’s also fully native ARM64 compatible meaning that it can run on the new Microsoft Surface Pro X.
Perhaps the more remarkable feature of the update is ScoreSync. The idea is that you can write your score, try it out with the inbuilt instrument sounds, and then, with the touch of a button, fire it out to multiple devices over Wi-Fi. Your band or orchestra with their iPads or Surface devices on their music stands instantly gets the latest version of the score. All the devices will be running the free StaffPad Reader app for iOS or Windows 10. This is an awesome idea.
StaffPad already had a reasonable library of sounds included but in this update they’ve expanded this to include sample libraries from Cinesamples, Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio and more all in special StaffPad versions. More sample library expansions will be available in the integrated StaffPad store. This is not VST support, these are custom libraries integrated into StaffPad.
There’s been a lot of work done on the staff, layout and editing. The “expression layer” has now become an automation layer and is a lot more familiar to anyone who has ever used a DAW. They’ve added a Solo button (genius). Staff Presets give you an easy way to switch between variations of the same instrument. A new Chord Staff has been introduced which can pull chords from your notes or let you add them manually. A Tempo Staff lets you put in tempo changes for MIDI and also shows a graph of how it changes. You can now add Divisi Staffs to go beyond the 4-note polyphony available on each staff.
And there are loads of other improvements as well, in fact the whole engine has been re-written and enhanced with the feedback of the last 5 years of users. StaffPad remains one of the most uniquely creative pieces of software I have ever used and it’s awesome that more people will now be able to enjoy it.
StaffPad costs $89.99 on all platforms. The reader app is free and you can add sound library playback for $12.99.
- StaffPad website.