I'm just wondering how you guys use an Ipad or tablet for sheet music. Im interested in apps to have an easy workflow, how you change quickly through pages and if you use any other hardware or apps with it.

5 Answers 5


Besides the obvious iPad, you'll want three ingredients:

  • Sheet music software that supports both page turners and PDF
  • A Bluetooth foot pedal pager turner
  • Some digital sheet music

I recommend looking at page turners first and then choosing from the compatible software packages. There is at least one company out there that makes both page turners and music library software, so you know their system will work fairly will with itself.

Regarding page turners, I suggest looking at reviews and/or talking to retailers and consider durability, battery systems, and ease of use, among other things. Also consider the surface(s) where you will use the page turner. They might be prone to slide on hard floors or feel too spongy on deep carpet, so a small mat or pedalboard might be a good accessory.

I suggest making sure the software you select supports PDF because so much free music is in PDF (IMSLP) and it's a solid format you can use to import any existing paper music that you have. To digitize my paper music, I took a chance on an iPad "scanner" app that uses the iPad camera to take a picture of a page and then justify it and adjust the contrast to make neat PDF pages. It works fairly well for me and I can just import the PDFs right into the library/page turning software.

If you have a large amount of paper music to import, a good desktop scanner may give faster and better results, but you'll have to get the scans from the computer to the iPad.

One last note, expect to take some time to get used to the page turner. I had it on the floor for a good couple weeks before I trained myself not to reach up with my hand to turn pages.


Standard musical scores are printed on 9X12 pages## Heading ## which have a 15 inch diagonal. I've used the large iPad and it's OK but not as good as the real thing. Even the smaller iPad is fine for simple scores, but neither is ideal for more challenging works requiring rapid sight reading.

Musical scores are printed in a book so two pages are open. The convenience factor is way up there with iPads, but until we have 24 inch tablet screens with a 3:4 form factor, reading sheet music on them will remain a compromise.

  • Plus how do you take notes on your digitized sheet music during a referral?
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 24, 2021 at 16:53
  • @phoog Apple Pencil or similar, apps like forScore support both annotation and bluetooth page turners. Commented Jul 25, 2021 at 18:23

Here in Chicago, the dominant app is ForScore, though I've seen a handful of people use GigBook. ForScore lets me send the band full set lists, complete with PDFs and annotations.

If the bandleader uses standfronts, I'll put my iPad there; otherwise I mount it on a mic stand. I have the Peavy iPad mount and it's fine, but given a do-over I'd take one that can be resized more easily. (It won't always be your device you're reading off. Sometimes the MD will want to know if you'd notate it differently, or maybe in rehearsal a singer hands you her phone and you have to read off that.)

The most popular page turners are by AirTurn, but I like the one by IK—it's cheaper and backlit.

An iPad mini is too small for most people to read. The standard size is de rigeur on the bandstand, but I'm starting to see the iPad Pro more and more.


If using computer or iPad, you needn't flip a page. I use PlayMusic.space to autoscroll my music. It's a web app.


I use ForScore, having ditched Deep Dish GigBook recently when it appeared to go unsupported for a while. (I think it is back now.)

Both apps are fine. I think ForScore has a few more features (such as cropping and rotating), but I found GigBook a bit more intuitive at first, and I prefer the way it presents the list of songs as a separate 'home' screen rather than as a pop-up over the score view.

I use a wired page turner (BiLiPro USB Page Turner) which plugs in via a lightning to USB adaptor. I've not used a Bluetooth page turner but I felt that a wired one would be more reliable, because it could never suffer from radio interference or a flat battery.

The only issue I've had is that, since the iPad sees it as a keyboard device, you have to unplug it in order to get the on-screen keyboard to appear. I don't know whether Bluetooth page turners have this problem (although my guess is that they do).

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