new StaffPad released for Win 10 and iOS with pen

Many Dorico users have expressed interest in StaffPad and in particular, since the introduction of the iPad Pro with pen, the possibility of a version for iOS. A new version of StaffPad has now been announced and it looks to have a huge number of new features regardless of which operating system it is used on. So far, it appears for sale on only the Microsoft Store but I suspect it will be available on the Apple App Store tomorrow or at least very soon. Details can be seen at

Looks like $90 plus in-app purchases for the iOS version. Hope it does well and supports that price point.

The handwriting recognition is marginally better, but this is still an app only suitable for rather simple music and composers who like to sit around watching the grass grow… :slight_smile:
The big news are apparently the iPad version and the Reader. putting Surface Pro back on shelf

I was intrigued and seriously considered it this morning, but ultimately, I can’t justify it because I’m so fast with midi keyboard entry in dorico. I don’t stand to gain anything by using handwriting instead.

Exactly. Some folks might prefer drawing in, and that’s their prerogative, but there’s no way it’s faster than MIDI. And probably not faster than typing either, once you’re proficient at it.

Having watched US college graduates laboriously writing (or more accurately “printing”) with a pen using non-joined-up letters (the only way they have ever been taught to write) I’m amazed it has never occurred to educators to make touch typing a compulsory course in elementary schools.

Or old-fashioned cursive for that matter.

I heard one comedienne talk about how she warned her grandson that he would only be allowed 30 seconds to scan her will and she was going to write it in cursive, so he’d better figure out how to read and write the proper way right quick! lol.

I expect there is some politically correct reason why cursive writing isn’t educationally inclusive :imp:

We did a year of it when I was in about 4th or 5th grade. That would have been about 1993 or so.

Ok… so I bought StaffPad for my 1st generation iPadPro and pencil. I thought I could use it to write simple things to eventually bring into Dorico. but it’s really not that good. Screenshot attached.

I know this is not a ‘Dorico’ problem but Dorico users might be considering this program for sketching musical ideas… unless this program performs better for such a simple score on the latest iPad model, it’s not a good idea.


In support for StaffPad, the docs/tutorials state that you do need to draw the notes in a certain way (or rather, the success rate goes up a lot when you draw notes a certain way). For example, painting round noteheads is not necessary, a simple diagonal stroke is better (and helps differentiate them from open noteheads). Also, the little upstrokes at the end of (some of) your crotchets’ stems might confuse the algorithm that tries to decide if you wanted to draw a quaver.

I did buy StaffPad a while ago and found that it’s fascinating to use (and I admire the programmers for what they’ve achieved), but of course I’m much faster with Dorico.

Some URLs:

Blog, information on the new version

Demo, review

For me, it is still frustrating because sometimes you do not get what you intend. I’m waiting for my Windows update to roll out, but have it now on iPad. Not sure it is worth the money, but it will be the best I have if I only have my iPad (or Surface) (have not been able to get comfortable with iOS Notion nor iOS Symphony Pro for some reason). If I have my Macbook, then it would be Dorico, because it is more accurate by typing in what you want.

Interesting the Staffpad Reader—might be interesting to export from Dorico (presumably music XML) and import into Staffpad and use Reader. Saves exporting the PDF of each instrument I need in Dorico, which is what I am currently doing when I am recording each individual part.

Don’t get your hopes up! :laughing:
From what I’ve seen, it’s not so much out of ‘consideration for others’, but rather that it’s an increasingly niche skill in a world of computers, and it doesn’t make the cut when so many things are competing for teaching time in the syllabus.

I purchased it for the iPAD and was really hopeful for it. If a MusicXML file is imported, errors corrected, tweaks made and playback crafted with the automation tool along with using the additional superb sample libraries then the results can be impressive.

My issue is not so much getting the hand recognition to work but rather the limited editing capability once you’ve got the notes in e.g. try changing a half note chord into two quarter note chords. Or replacing a dynamic of mp with mf. This is where is starts getting annoying. My compositional method is 10% inspiration and 90% chiseling. The latter is what a notation or DAW package has to be good at as a minimum.

Also, the fact that you can have a Win or Mac based computer running Dorico on a form factor not much bigger than an iPAD Pro makes me think that StaffPad is a product that has a target audience that is not completely clear. I wanted so much to use this as a tool alongside Dorico. Maybe I will if a few workflow issues are sorted out. I will continue to find a niche for it but at the end of the day if it is much quicker to just use Dorico, then that’s what I’ll do.

I bought Staffpad when it first came out, 2 or 3 years ago? It does what it intends to pretty well, for the most part. But once I got used to Dorico’s input method, I’m much faster at that, than if I’m using pencil and paper much less handwriting recognition.

I kind of like it, but I think it’ll only be useful for me at the beginning of a composition before I ultimately bring it to Dorico. Yes, typing may be faster, but handwriting can be more contemplative for me.

I bought it a while back, and last night I tried out the new version. I think overall the recognition is better, and the annoying screen tearing bug is finally gone. However, sometimes it goes unresponsive and crashes on me, even when writing relatively simple piano music. (EDIT: They seem to have fixed that in a bugfix update)

You used to be able to clarify a “Pending Bar” (a bar that failed recognition) by tapping on it and selecting some disambiguation choices, but that feature seems to have been removed—now I have to rewrite the strokes that I think are unclear, or otherwise rewrite the entire measure.

It performs some minor engraving adjustments, such as stem direction and note spacing, but sometimes these can actually get in the way. For example, suppose I try to write two notes in the two middle spaces beamed together (i.e. an A and a C in treble clef). If StaffPad accidentally interprets the beam as a slur, the notes will be quarters, and therefore have different stem directions. If they were the same stem direction, I could connect them together by drawing the beam in, but in this case, I have to either erase the notes and rewrite them, or change a note’s pitch by dragging it, then draw in the beam, and change the pitch back.

I think StaffPad is suited toward sketching. Write what you want, and StaffPad will try to convert it if possible, or just leave it alone if it can’t. It’s like digital manuscript paper. Dorico, on the other hand, is suited toward publishing. Write what you want, and it will immediately be laid out and spelled following the notation and engraving rules. It’s a serious production tool. The difference is like Paint versus PhotoShop, or WordPad versus Word, or iMovie versus Final Cut Pro.

The new ScoreSync feature is actually quite interesting. Not long ago this would be a fantasy: to send your score to everyone in the room, who each sees their own parts, updating edits in real-time, with a synchronized metronome and automatic page turns. For a well-equipped ensemble, I guess StaffPad may actually be useful at the end of the composition process, as well as the beginning.

Dear Jester,

For the sake of some different point of view, I wanted to add that the new features with StaffPad reader are already available on Newzik for quite a while, and I did not pay 90€ for it… YMMV, but there really are different solutions out there for different needs, and it’s up to the user to choose what really suits the needs.

couldn’t resist getting staffpad ios 3 days ago. curiosity got the best of me. learning curve is much deeper than I anticipated, but each day I progressed in what seemed to be baby steps. One thing to see the wizards on youtube sale through it and putting up with me working through the text-based tutorials and another to not give up and insist on a refund (good luck). I envisioned using it as an idea pad and use music xml to get the sketch into dorico 3 and work from there (keeping busy away from my home studio computer and on airplanes, hotels, etc). after 3 days and with much patience I have a small fragment that is pretty much what I wanted (using various tuplets, measure changes, etc). It was slow but fun in a curious sort of way. dorico made a mess of the music xml transfer. I put the staffpad xml export into sibelius 7 and then exported it to dorico and it was perfect. I guess I have noticed that old scores from sibelius transport well. why did dorico not do a better job with a direct transfer and what can I tweak to go directly to dorico? Not a big deal or time consuming to two step it. oddly enough, working with the apple pencil directly to the score was very tactile, organic. it’s just different with a pencil,working directly with each note in a way is possible and usual in a desktop program with a mouse but it is just different with a pencil on the small ipad pro. I do not have a touch desktop but I imagine that working on the sketch on a small device is like working on paper. expect to expand the first fragment significantly in dorico and expect to expand each new fragment of the piece significantly in dorico. I was not on a plane, hotel but in my sunroom (snow everywhere. sunroom?) learning the program and generating the sketch fragment. Doesn’t seem to be a bad process.

Has anyone used both Staffpad and Komp? Interested to hear comparisons.

I have worked a bit with the free version. One gets 16 measures or so without buying. it responded quickly but I had many mistakes. that wasn’t the big problem. so much seem to not be done with the pencil. It was not the same composition experience as staffpad. I have had problems getting sixth notes group in 4, then tuplets of 5, 6, 7 then 8 thirty second notes. my first measure has the values in it and the piece begins with the second measure. as I need any of these fragments I lasso it and change the notes. seems stupid. staffpad should work better for me but this actually works very fast. when done with the fragment I import it to dorico 3, eliminate the first measure and to from there. most of the good work is done in dorico, of course; but I can come back from so many places with my ipad pro in toll and transfer ideas to dorico.