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StaffPad by StaffPad Ltd.

StaffPad Ltd. just brought their Microsoft Surface app StaffPad to iPad! This elaborate scoring app has been exclusive on Microsoft's tablet since 2015, because it was designed to utilize the Surface's hardwriting recognition. Now that same functionality is available to iPad owners! The main app is pricey, but there's also a free version that can sync up to it so that other musicians can follow along.

StaffPad App Store Description:

StaffPad is designed for composers who want to composer and write music effortlessly, using handwriting recognition. Simply write your music using Apple Pencil, and the app will transform each bar into beautifully typeset music notation that can be edited further using touch or Pencil tools that are intuitive and quick to use.


Build you score with the fluidity of natural handwriting combined with the convenience of digital editing. Use touch and Apple Pencil to quickly change the pitches, transpose selections, add additional elements, symbols, lines, text, quickly cut/copy/paste, quick repeat. Customise the tempo with a unique tempo staff (or import a tempo map from a MIDI file), add chords with the chord staff - or let StaffPad automatically analyse the score and write the chord symbols for you and much more. You can even copy music written in StaffPad into other apps, simply using the normal copy and paste functions. Paste an idea quickly into an email, or Messages, or build worksheets in Keynote or Pages just as easily as working with pictures.


With a groundbreaking playback engine and over 55 included instruments, StaffPad is ready to perform your written piece by just tapping the play icon. You can even draw automation using the Apple Pencil to customise and automate the each instrument's dynamics, volume and pan. For professional quality playback, add industry standard sample libraries directly into the app from the StaffPad Store - these unique StaffPad Editions of flagship libraries, created by the world's leading sample library development houses, provide truly breathtaking results with true legato, multiple repetition samples, many more instrument choices, additional playing techniques and much more. This is a leap forward for composers working at the highest levels.


ScoreSync is our revolutionary technology for sharing individual instrument parts of your score with all the musicians in the room using StaffPad Reader. Any Reader on the local WiFi network is instantly synchronised, with edits and changes made in StaffPad instantly reflected on the Readers. StaffPad even synchronises playback, so that all the Readers can provide a synchronised click track, count-in, playback markers, and even to turn the pages automatically. This means no more printed parts, no more confusion about where to start, no more missed changes or reprints due to edits. A true revolution for working with live musicians.


StaffPad imports and exports MusicXML and MIDI files for easily working with other music apps. You can also export your playback as WAV, AAC or MP3.


Write chords manually, and they'll be automatically formatted into chord symbols. Or, simply toggle "Show Chords" on an instrument staff to have StaffPad intelligently analyse and write the chord symbols for you. StaffPad can even provide a harmonic analysis of the whole piece, correcting automatically for non-pitched and transposed instruments, and create a unique chord staff with customisable chord complexity levels.


Annotate your score with either private or public (shared with the Readers) annotation pens. Public pens allow for instant written communication with individual musicians in the room via ScoreSync and StaffPad Reader.


As well as digital parts via ScoreSync, StaffPad will automatically format and print parts or export PDFs for you. Customise the paper size, bar number styles, number of bars per line, scaling, margins, multi-bar consolidation and more. StaffPad automatically formats the score for consistent presentation.


StaffPad features "Fenby", our voice-activated composer assistant, who can assist you in routine tasks like setting up your score, adding instruments, tempos, bar line styles, key changes and more.

David MacDonald did a lengthy blog post and video review for the iOS version of StaffPad. There are also a whole bunch of new videos on the official StaffPad YouTube channel, including this overview.

Reader Comments 2

Quite an effective ad! Not that I’m likely to buy the app any time soon (I don’t currently do much notation). Just that it actually made me react out loud as it makes it sound like such a lovely experience compared to traditional notation software. Were I to do notation on a regular basis, the (high) price of the app and the Pencil could be fairly easy to justify for iPad Pro owners like me.
February 05, 2020  | favorite_border Enkerli
It is a slick add that promises a fluid, easy workflow.

The $90 price isn't too bad relative to Sibelius, Finale, and Dorico. But I'd expect it to have a very full feature-set and not to leave me in a lurch as projects get more complex. Honestly, my hate of touch screens makes me reluctant, but if ever there was an impressive use of it, this would be it.

Does iOS have some algorithm for ignoring you resting your side of your hand as you write? Or is that only with the iPencil?
February 05, 2020  | favorite_border stub

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