Good iPad musical PDF reader?

We’ve got reader mode for Dorico iPad, any recommendations for straight PDFs, for music and text reading? Presently using IMSLP which is pretty darn good, just wondering if anybody has a better idea?

for Ipad the best option (in my opinion) is Forscore

Also for Mac OS:

in a bit more detail:

  • Import (music) PDF’s or text
  • Make annotation’s (in different layers if you want)
  • Sync with the app on Mac, which I really like
  • Print, share, with or without annotations
  • and a lot more options which I personally don’t use.

Yes, +1 for forScore! I practically live in it. Works great with an AirTurn pedal.

For text, or at least scholarly text, I use Zotero.

Scoring notes has a good rundown of the contenders here.

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Just checking (foreScore), I’m mostly using it away from the piano (books, references, score reading, etc)

  • Bookmarks?
  • Does it come back to your last location when you open a PDF?
  • Does it have a fast switch between PDF’s? Biggest annoyance is I have a bunch of PDF’s I often need to switch between, I want it to be just like picking up printed versions of them
  • Flexible storage? For example point to a shared iCloud folder?
  • Looks like it has a subscription model (ugh) - what does that give you?
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  1. Yes. You can create simple page references or “virtual scores”, which don’t change your original pdfs. Flags, TOC are also possible.

  2. not if you closed the pdf. But, you can flag pages, before you close it.

  3. you can use tabs, create setlists, strong meta data’s, for easy search.

  4. Syncing with iCloud is possible.

  5. never tried and checked out, what’s included.


I’ve been using ForScore on my iPad Pro with a PageFlip Firefly page-turning pedal for years for church piano work. Can’t live without them.

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That’s too bad. Is fine for reading scores (most of the time) but for books and such isn’t great. Flagging is kind of dumb, as you move around you have to flag, unflag etc etc. The IMSLP app does jump back in where you left it, has very good annotations and score reading, bookmarks, and works directly with IMSLP (and is free) so not seeing a benefit withe forScore for me.

Yes, I understand that. Reading a book, wont be a great experience. Using a book as a reference might work better with all the bookmark capabilities.
It’s not designed to be a “normal” pdf reader or book reader., it’s designed to read/perform music from it. Half page turns, “jump markers” for repeats, D.S. etc, ability to attach audio/midi, IMHO stronger annotaion than IMSLP, Setlists, really strong Meta-Data, etc…

I don’t use the IMSLP app often… But it felt always a bit clumsy compared to forScore.

It has changed a lot lately. It’s very usable now.

I bought PDFNotes when I got my first iPad, that would be near 10 years ago. Perfect app to read documents (I’ve used it for music too, better than for score for some years, especially the ease in navigation. Now forScore has caught up and although Newzik is my music go-to app, I know it’s very good too). PDFNotes is my favorite app to read Dorico’s Version history (it still holds several versions) and to learn my texts.

I was wondering, seems like a lot of things have come in. I think just a month or two ago it didn’t have the remember last position feature.

Yeah this discussion got me to look closer at it, I can use the Set List feature to very quickly jump between different PDF’s, but it assumes you’re reading music and always goes to the beginning. There are Jump Buttons but I haven’t figured what those are about yet.

The jump buttons are used if there are repeats, D.S., Codas, which require page turns. Together with half page turns you almost always can turn pages „by hand“, at least for non pianists.

Got it - how do you use them and then how do they work? I tried adding a jump button to page one, then another to say page 5, but it didn’t seem to work the way I expected.

Hi @DanMcL,

I’m not really sure but i think Goodreader have all those options.
The manual can be read here GoodReader User Manual
There is a Pro version or pro pack with suscription but i think the options you are looking for are already in the basic version.

Can IMSLP import PDF fakebooks like the Realbook?

It will work with any PDF

But it does go back to the last page. I’m not sure why some say that it doesn’t

I’ve used MobileSheets for years. Responsive developer and maintained regularly. MobileSheets

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Sorry, are you talking about forScore or IMSLP? And to be clear, if you mean forScore, you are saying that when you exit and reopen a PDF you are saying it goes to the last position you were at? Is that always the case? Comparing to IMSLP where it goes to the last position when you open from the main screen, but when part of a set it always goes to the beginning.

I’m harping on the point because when reading large PDF’s (e.g. books) obviously you don’t want to lose your place, and I want an app that works well for both scores and books/articles.

In forScore you can set bookmarks within a PDF which take you directly to that page, from a menu such as a file listing or a custom playlist. If you open a file just by name, it opens to the first page. For multi-section scores, I always make myself a TOC to the start of each number or movement using bookmarks.

This can be somewhat tedious. But if a PDF already has its own TOC, you can import it to bookmarks in forScore.

Bookmarks can also be used to excerpt a series of pages from a PDF as if they are a separate file. This is useful for playlists.