More than anything, a tablet resembles a piece of paper. Apple’s iPad rests easily on a music stand, and – while in this generation, it’s a bit small and low-resolution – is at least the beginning of an ideal score reader.

We took a look at Avid’s Scorch, a leading contender for your iPad score-reading needs, when it came out, and followed up with questions for Avid (like how you turn pages on a tablet – hint, it’s easier than on paper):

Not Quite Sibelius for iPad, but Avid Scorch Could Become an iTunes of Notation (“Not Quite” because, while powered by Sibelius’ notation engine, you can read but not create scores)

Tablet Scores: Avid Answers Our Scorch Questions; Bluetooth Page Turners for iPad, Android

Now, there are further developments. Most importantly, in its evolution toward what I predicted would be an iTunes of music, there’s now a huge store of notation – Hal Leonard’s Sheet Music Direct is now available, powered by the Avid Scorch platform. That’s relevant to, erm, about half of our readers, because it’s only available in the USA (or if you have a US iTunes account). But I imagine we’ll see other countries soon, as Sheet Music Direct is an international service.

If you are in the USA, you can grab the app for free and get 15 songs free of charge to get started:
Sheet Music Direct @iTunes

Daniel Spreadbury, a gifted notation and education advocate I’ve had the pleasure to know for some time, details what’s in the new release.

New Sheet Music Direct app for iPad powered by Scorch technology [Sibelius Blog]

The highlights: what differentiates this from, say, a chunk of bleached tree, are features like:

  • Metronome
  • Tuner
  • Set lists
  • Sharing
  • Lighter than a tree
  • Turn pages with a foot. (*Possible with paper, provided you have a human page turner and you kick them.)
  • On-demand purchasing

In the favor of the flattened wood pulp with ink marks on it: higher resolution, bigger, easier to see, easier to mark up, the battery never runs out, does not cost US$499. (Not at first, anyway.) Oh, and you don’t have to wait for it to come out on the iTunes store in your country.

But that puts some significant promise on the iPad side of things.

There are also 90 improvements in Scorch 1.1, including better page turning features and page turning, but one of those 90 features to me jumps out: you get PDF support.

With PDF support, wherever you are, and whatever notation program you use to generate scores, you can now easily share your work with someone else with an iPad. Scorch itself has a separate link from the Sheet Music Direct app:

Scorch @ iTunes

I really want to hear from someone actually using these apps to read scores. What’s the experience like? Are you using it on a regular basis, or did you revert to paper scores?