Sunday, February 13, 2011

LE1600 takes on the Pops


And, for the first time, shared with a stand partner.  Normally, in the Pops, even string players get a stand to themselves.  I’m not sure why the strings don’t share in this orchestra, as they were already that way when I joined, but it works and it’s kinda nice.  This means that I’m free to experiment with the tablet and foot pedal for my music. 

But then, the second violist didn’t bring a stand, and we’re pretty short on space in the front row anyway.  There’s really not room for two stands, so we shared (violists are just friendly like that), and she was totally on board with the idea of the tablet for music.  12” was big enough for both of us to share, especially with the upgrade to Windows 7 and clearer music, even my stand partner noticed the improved quality between Windows XP at the rehearsal and Windows 7 at the concert.   I still did the page turns, but she had no problem using the stylus to mark the music, or flipping it to the eraser side to erase markings.  I think that’s one of the most important features of the combination of Windows Journal and an active Wacom digitizer – the pen tools stays active and you can just pick up and write.  Even my stand partner commented that she liked the pen-only-ness of the tablet, as she set her hand on the screen to write and a touch screen would have just gotten in the way.  And the stylus can just be flipped over to erase – very intuitive.  There was no need to dig through menus to select a pen tool or eraser tool.  The pen tool just stays active, and the foot pedal does the page turns. 

One of the cellists shared my vision for digital sheet music and asked what program I was using and if I had heard of Music Reader, as he’s apparently been trying to convince people that digital is the future (he has quite the vision, but has yet to follow through with it like I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do).  I’ve tried Music Reader and the annotation tools are just not near on par with Windows Journal, and Journal is free.  For me to pay for a program to manage my sheet music, it would have to offer compelling upgrades to what Windows Journal can offer, and I’ve yet to see anything that even comes close to competing, let alone being better.  Then he was telling me how, one day, we would all have tablets that would sync off the principal’s stand, so the principal could make a bowing change and it would sync to all the others.  I mentioned that a shared OneNote notebook could already do that, as that’s how I manage all the tablets I’m playing with now.  I’ve set two side by side and watched changes in one appear on the other, all synced through SkyDrive in the cloud.  The thing is, nobody wants to see everyone else’s markings.  Sure it would be nice for bowings to transfer around, but rarely is an entire section of players fingering everything the same way.  It can even become difficult between stand partners each wanting to have a different fingering in the music, imagine a whole section of people trying to mark up one part.  I think we can live without synced bowings. 

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