SOPP701: How do two tablets with the music score know when to switch as they do when you turn pages?
Vidas: Hello and welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Ausra: This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better organist.
V: We’re your hosts Vidas Pinkevicius...
A: ...and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene.
V: We have over 25 years of experience of playing the organ
A: ...and we’ve been teaching thousands of organists online from 89 countries since 2011.
V: So now let’s jump in and get started with the podcast for today.
A: We hope you’ll enjoy it!
V: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
Vidas: Let’s start episode 701 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Richard, and he writes:
I just watched your video of 4 movements your Nun Danket Suite - VERY nice.
Question: how do the tablets with the music score know when to switch as they do?
Vidas: So, this is a question about page turning. Right?
Ausra: Yes, it is.
Vidas: Want to answer that, Ausra?
Ausra: Well, I just remember a very funny story when we had some house guests during my last birthday, and I was telling to one of them about how I can turn pages by just blinking my eye, and that person actually thought that I’m making fun of her. She could not believe that things like this are possible, and she thought I’m making a joke and sort of teasing her. But actually, that’s possible. You just need to have an app for that, and…
Vidas: Two apps!
Ausra: Yes, two apps, and Vidas will tell you now more about them.
Vidas: Yeah, first of all we use iPads. Obviously it could work with iPhones, but the screen is too small for note reading, but we use an app called ForScore. It’s connected to an iPad, and then if it’s just one tablet, one iPad, you can use just this forScore and that’s it. It would require probably a pro subscription, this blinking or facial movement feature. It’s not expensive at all, but you pay every year and then you get this extra feature. But if you have two tablets, then you need another app from the same maker. It’s called Cue! C-u-e. It’s also from the app store. And once you download it, you open the forScore app on the main iPad where your score is, and then you open the Cue app on the secondary iPad. Does it make sense, Ausra?
Ausra: Oh yes.
Vidas: Yes? And then what happens, you configure—you ask to connect both tables—right? It’s called “double page feature” in Cue. And once you turn the page by touching the screen or blinking or moving your lips, the page turns every two pages, not one, not every page, right? So it’s like a double page feature.
Ausra: And it’s excellent, because in that case you are playing like from the real score—like from the book!
Vidas: Yeah, if, let’s say, I have to go to church and play in a live setting like in a graduation, I may not need this secondary iPad, because maybe a piece is quite short that I’m playing for that—one or two pages, I can just blink once or twice. That’s ok. But if it’s a longer piece or part of a recital, having two screens is really really nice.
Ausra: Yes, because imagine like Vidas and I, you probably noticed that we play a lot of organ duets, and such really long pieces like Concertos, Brandenburg Concertos by J. S. Bach that have many many pages. So if your piece let’s say takes like 40 or 50 pages, then imagine how many page turnings you will have to do, and it’s really time consuming, and to touch the screen once in a while is much easier than to physically turn the page.
Vidas: Yeah, we thought about consuming trees, about that, but I think it’s not only about that because I think the most important reason why we have those two tablets is convenience, as Ausra said. We tried to turn the pages on paper and then compare with the tablet, and it’s obviously much faster just to click on the screen, right, with a tap of a finger, let’s say, if you need to tap once, than to physically turn the page using the paper. And sometimes texture is like that, where you don’t have much time to turn, but you have just enough time to tap on the screen, let’s say, and that would be enough.
Ausra: And of course, you know, having tablets like this, you can have some fun and make jokes out of each other! For example, just a few days ago Vidas was sitting on the organ bench at home and practicing and I wanted to make a joke on him—play a joke, actually, and I stood behind him, he could not see me, and I would start blinking just like this, and his pages started to turn like back and forth, and he even swared! So…
Ausra: Swore, yes. I had fun.
Vidas: Yeah, um…
Ausra: Don’t do that on purpose, of course, and don’t do that during a recital, you know…
Vidas: Maybe I…
Ausra: It wouldn’t be nice, but…
Vidas: Maybe it would be nice! Maybe we should do that!
Ausra: No! But it was fun actually, just to make fun and to hear how you swear.
Vidas: You know, sometimes people say oh it’s cheaper to use electronics than paper. It is not, actually. I calculated how many photocopies you would have to make in order to make up for the price you paid for that iPad or two iPads. Right? You would have to have hundreds of thousands of copies on paper if you pay, let’s say, two cents or more for each copy…
Ausra: Plus, you know, we are not the cheaters. We always… well, we never sort of break the copyright rule, and if we do, take pictures of music, it means that we still owned the hard copy or digital copy of the score! So for example we have all paper version of “Neue Bach Ausgabe,” but still we just make photographs out of the real book and put it on our forScore program.
Vidas: Yeah, we just scan them using the app. It has scanning features, too. So it’s really really nice. Yeah, we recommend it. Right, Ausra?
Ausra: Yes. It’s really handy to…
Vidas: Plus you don’t have to bring all your books with you on tour if you go abroad when you go to recitals. You just have one or two iPads, and it’s good when you have an important event like this, you keep a backup on each of the iPads… backup scores. Not only on one, but on both!
Ausra: Yes, yes!
Vidas: If something happens with one iPad, you at least have a secondary iPad to work from, which wouldn’t be very convenient, yes, to have twice as many page turns, but...
Ausra: but still…
Vidas: ...still, it could work.
Ausra: Yes, you could do it.
Vidas: It hasn’t happened to us, but I’ll tell you what happened, actually, during our last recital at St. Casimir’s Church, right after Christmas, on the second day of Christmas, Ausra was waiting for her turn—the first piece was mine, so it was like 5 minutes before recital, I opened the iPad started selecting the music on both of them to connect Cue and forScore and put them on the music rack, and then I noticed that sometimes this iPad behaves in a weird way. Sometimes, the Cue app doesn’t work! Right? Doesn’t give you the secondary page, and I knew that would happen, you just have to refresh each app, forScore and the Cue app, both of them. You just close them completely and then open them again, connect them, it would maybe take 30 seconds. Yes? And I had 5 minutes before recital, and I figured if that happens, I’ll still be quite safe. But the first time in our experience, it didn’t work. Even after refreshing both apps, it didn’t work. It was stressful knowing that time is running out. Ausra doesn’t know anything about that; she’s preparing on the left, she is not looking at me, and then I’m trying to figure out what to do. So then I just manually restarted both iPads, and that fixed it. But of course, it took like 2 minutes, maybe, with everything, with refreshment and restarting. So 2 more minutes, yeah. Save a little bit more time for that if you have some very important event. Start a little bit earlier. Prepare yourself. Have some additional time. Right, Ausra?
Ausra: Yes. But actually, you know, things happen even with the paper notes, too. Sometimes they fall down, or you know if you are playing from unattached pages you would sneeze during your performance and all the music would fly through the church.
Vidas: I agree. Be prepared for some unprepared, unexpected event. Okay guys, we hope this was useful to you. Please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
Ausra: Miracles happen!
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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