If you’ve ever been frustrated by the difficulty of using traditional notation software such as Finale or Sibelius, you are sure to like NotateMe.
I’m just old enough to remember when notation and recording software cost thousands of dollars, required huge processing power and memory and large desktop computers.
With the advent of the iPad, things that used to be out of the reach of the average student and teacher is now just a click away. Consider an app like Garageband. This complete multi-track recording bundle was almost inconceivable for most recording musicians 10 years ago. Now it’s being released free with new iPhones and iPads!
Notation software for iPad
There have been a few apps around that can create notation on the iPad. The ones I’ve tended to use have been Symphony Pro, Notion (see my article: Notation for iPad just got easier with Notion) and now NotateMe. All have their advantages and disadvantages. I primarily like Notion and Symphony Pro (with Notion now in front) for the ability to record in MIDI from a keyboard and convert it directly to notation.
Both Symphony Pro and Notion are fully-featured notation solutions and I can’t really fault either of them. That said, most people would agree that it’s still often faster to hand-write your own notation – especially if it’s a short excerpt or example for a student! This is where NotateMe comes to the rescue.
For those who haven’t heard, NotateMe allows you to convert handwritten notation on the iPad screen into printed notation in real-time. Here’s a quick video demonstration of me using the app recently (please excuse my hand getting in the way!):
It costs about $15 and is available for Android and iPad. It also works on iPhone, however given the small size of the screen, I wouldn’t attempt to write anything on a phone! For those looking for more information, have a glance at the NotateME Quick-start guide to see what it can do.
Here’s a demo video by the developers:
The only downsides I’ve found so far are that it:
- Takes a while to get used to (ie. getting used to writing so that the software understands you can be awkward at first, but it does get better and the software ‘learns’ how to read your writing as you go)
- Requires a stylus to be accurate (The Adonit Jot Pro is the stylus that I prefer to use)
- Doesn’t yet understand dynamics and is lacking in articulations and some of the more complex features of music notation.
If you’re looking for a handy way to jot some ideas, make notes for students or create student worksheets with professional-looking printed notation, NotateMe could be a perfect solution. However, if your scoring needs are complex and require things like drum notation, auto lyric spacing, complex signs and symbols, etc. etc,. you may be better off with Notion or Sibelius.
What’s your experience with notation on the iPad?
Disclaimer: I was not asked to write a review on this app, nor was I given a free download or compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own.