iPad and piano-roll notation


I’m tempted to buy a big iPad Pro to use with Dorico. But I want to draw music, instead of tapping it in. It’s simply a different attitude, and one making one feel the music is actually flowing. Drawing it, instead of entering.

I know that Dorico can’t recognize music handwriting, but there are other ways of drawing music. Piano-roll is one that I don’t dislike, and actually use the most when sketching.

How is it, drawing music in the piano-roll? It would be great if a video could show how it works when actually composing.


Something like StaffPad is likely the best you will find for drawing music notation on an iPad for XML import into Dorico.

I’m in the odd position of finding that my scribbled notation, on paper, is a mix of traditional and graphic notation. I mostly use lines for long notes, and grouped notes for short/fast notes. The groups are more proportional that traditional, since I feel the high number of beams in avant-garde notation incredibly counterintuitive (an airy music passage looking extremely weighty…).

So, I’m not sure that I want to use traditional notation for drawing music. The final representation is what it is: a code inherited, that works very well in communicating multiple dimensions with a single sign. But drawing is a different thing. When thinking to a long note, my brain is never tempted to tell my hand to draw a circle, but a line. If it is a fast passage, it tells it to write several short traits or dots, not a complex system of black circles and crossed beams.

I suspect, therefore, that drawing on graph paper (the piano-roll), while having a traditional score forming before my eyes, would be a more natural experience for me, in the age of the tablets.