Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holiday Performances and the aftermath

Years of going back to Ohio for Christmas followed by a few years of drowning in little kid and I'm very out of the loop when it comes to the holiday gigs out here. It's been nearly a decade since my last Messiah and I've managed to have never played Nutcracker. Like ever. I know! But anyway, I did have a concert with the Pops and my trio played a short holiday program for a retirement home.

I played the Pops concert from the Surface Pro 3 and Xodo docs as usual and it went off smoothly. I'm getting comfortable in that set up. Our bass player had an iPad Pro. He had pre-ordered it the minute it became available. He did not have a Pencil however. He's comfortable with the workflow of using stamps and typing notations and doesn't feel the need to have more than a capacitive stylus for other markings. He's also very quick with the zoom/write/zoom flow to get more detailed markings. I don't even like switching in and out of edit mode, so adding zooming to the flow really wouldn't work for me. But everyone's flow is different. It should also be noted that he's one of two bass players, and is usually the only one, so bowings aren't really something he has to worry about. Last minute bowing changes are the number one thing I need to scrawl out in rehearsal, and it usually needs to be done as it's happening.

The vast majority of our trio gigs are weddings or parties where we're just background music, so we read from our gig books which I have scanned, and I do it all from the Surface. Since this was a legit concert where folks actually sat down and listened to us, we pulled out the Mozart Divertimenti and other trio sonatas. I haven't scanned those, so I decided to just go with it and use the paper parts. I grabbed an actual pencil, like the kind with lead in it, and marked a few fingerings and bowings. I've forgotten how easy on the eyes paper music can be.

I still practice off paper parts a lot as I haven't gone through and scanned my solo library. I don't really need to as I don't carry it all around with me all the time. The primary purpose of the Surface is to allow me to carry more music with less bulk. Half of my practice routine is memorized anyway, so pulling a sonata and the Bach Suites off the shelf isn't much bulk. But I haven't performed from paper parts in years.

It's made me wish epaper took off more. It kind of fizzled out as demand for ereaders that could be used as full on media consumtion devices took off. The Kindle DX was an exciting device and I often wished it had pen input. Sadly, there was never a big enough eInk screen with pen input. Sony did make a few ereader with a stylus and Entourage made the eDGe, which was an interesting device combining an android tablet and an eInk screen in a book like case. The eInk screen had a Wacom pen. But it was an idea ahead of the technology and the Android side was woefully behind standalone tablets of the time. The company went under and the devices are no longer supported.

Sony has an amazing 13" Digital Paper tablet, but it's $830 and who knows what it's running. Then again, that's what an iPad Pro would cost and if you're only real need is to eliminate paper clutter, that might not be a bad option. As it is, that's not in my budget. In fact, it looks like my budget for the forseable future is about to be blown on a nearly 150 year old piece of tech as I've fallen for a rather old viola. It's had some questionable repair work done, so I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but it plays so wonderfully.

I just have to make my decisions before the end of year so I can deduct whatever I decide on. ;)

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