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There's a once lively discussion about page turning here which deals alot with page turns of the wood pulp variety. However, all of my music is in PDF format and I read it from a computer.

I wasn't able to find much in a google search for page turning software for Mac.

Does anybody have any suggestions or know of a good way to get the PDF to turn? I suppose mapping a key combination might be one way to speed it up, but I'm wondering if that's the best option. This is especially tricky because I like to magnify the PDF so that a full screen is about one half-page.

While we're at it, let's bring up page sizing. Most PDFs are 8.5 x 11 because in ancient times that was a typical dimension one would use when creating slices of wood pulp to put into the printing press. These days we have extra horizontal real-state on our screens. Does anybody know of any ways to take advantage of that extra screen space with standard 8.5x11 PDFs?

  • +1 For a asking something so practical, as we are adapting to the emergence of various tablet devices replacing printed music. Also, acknowledging that many early adapters have been using such technology for some time now, but it appears to be growing into the mainstream. – filzilla Jul 14 '14 at 16:48
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    There are plenty of USB foot-pedals designed for exactly this purpose. (with driver apps to do the page turning, etc). Do a little online shopping to find them. – Carl Witthoft Jul 14 '14 at 17:09
  • Your paper size assumptions seem US-biased looking at wikipedia, paper size. Anyway, printed sheet music does not use standard formats, and one can wonder, whether this intentionally to hamper copying and scanning. – guidot Dec 10 '18 at 7:51
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Here's an example of what you want -- a set of foot pedals designed precisely for this purpose. It works via Bluetooth, wirelessly.

AirTurn

enter image description here

I know several gigging jazz musicians who have their fake books and charts as PDF files on iPads, and use the AirTurn to flip pages with a tap of the foot while they are playing their instruments.

There are numerous apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android that can be used to organize and display PDF files of sheet music, and can work with the AirTurn to flip pages. You can find a list of compatible apps at the AirTurn website at the link above.

  • This is really cool! I've thought that this is a no-brainer to put together. It would be a great thing for accompanists in chamber music as well. – BobRodes Jul 16 '14 at 17:10
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As Carl Witthoft said, you can find some USB foot-pedals, I've never tried them, but it exists. But usually, what I do is putting all my sheets as images, not PDFs, and putting them on a PowerPoint presentation. Then, you just have to define how much time it takes to play one sheet and launch the presentation.

Positive point : Free and automatic.

Negative point : You have to be (or to use) a metronome.

  • Good idea! The foot pedal is not the best solution for me but I think it's a great idea – Grey Jul 15 '14 at 10:03
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You can use auto scroll. Adobe Reader can do this. And if you want to scroll accurately, PlayMusic.space have some web tools. You can play music without turning page.

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You would be best served with a custom application - designed especially for music.

I use and can recommend MuseScore on an iPad. It supports page-turner pedals (wired and wireless), such as this one, which would also work with a laptop or desktop PC.

MuseScore has a feature for mapping half a page at a time in landscape mode. Another function allows you to 'tear the page in half' so you can turn the top half of the page before you reach the bottom so you can see the relevant parts of both pages at once.

I'm sure most music will be in A4/letter format for many years to come, so features like those I described above are going to be far more use to you than anything that aims to replace this legacy format with something that better fits a computer screen.

If you are thinking of getting a tablet then I would strongly suggest trying to get something with a 4:3 screen aspect ratio because this fits a standard page of A4/letter with far less wasted space than widescreen 16:9.

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