Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let's start Episode 261 of Secrets of Organ Playing podcast. This question was sent by Neil. He writes:
Hello Vidas. Thank you for all the wonderful fingered compositions you publish on your store for which I have purchased a number of. I’ve decided to purchase an iPad with a hope to play a number of the pdf files via Forscore. I wonder if you have had the experience of playing music from a tablet?
Actually, I did. Just before our concert trip to St. Paul's Cathedral in London, I got this Huawei tablet--not a large one, but just 10 or 11 inches of screen. And I tried it out: I downloaded some music to sightread, and put it on the music rack as PDF files, and played it through.
A: So, how did it go? Did you like it?
V: Well, at first, I think, you have to get some experience with this. At first it's kind of tricky. Apart from being tiresome for your eyes, it's tricky to manipulate the score, because you have to slide your fingers up and down...I just used a simple PDF program to read those files, because it's not an iPad--forScore doesn't work for it. I've heard they have special bluetooth pedals for pressing and changing the pages; it helps a lot.
A: So, would you prefer to play from the tablet or from the actual score?
V: Well, it has some nice features. I like the fact that I don't have to print out the music, right? For example, that I can just download from the internet, and sightread if I want publicly available scores, like Bach for example. And I think it has some negative effects, too, not to mention the thing that you have to constantly use your eyes and look at the screen. Maybe it works for iPad--maybe the screen on an iPad is better. But after a few or 15 minutes of looking at the screen intensely, right, when you sightread--
V: You cannot look away. When you use a computer, you can type and look away, because nobody is disturbing you; you're working on your own speed. But when you sightread or play from the music on the tablet, you constantly have to look at the screen; and that is not healthy for you eyes, I think.
A: That's true.
V: But then, you have to calculate what is more important: your eyes, or printing out scores of music constantly.
A: But I know that now, even some orchestras are actually not playing from published scores, and are playing from tablets.
V: True. Maybe they use iPads. Maybe they're better for your eyes, I guess. I guess there is some device which shields you from this blue light, some special goggles...But I'm not sure if orchestra members use special goggles for that...
A: I don't know! Hahahaha!
V: It would look funny! Hahahaha!
A: It would look funny, yes!
V: But yes, I tried it out. Would you like, Ausra, to try it, and maybe get your own experience?
A: Maybe not yet. Because I still have trouble with my right eye, even looking at the regular score.
V: Mhmm. I guess those technologies develop and advance with time; so later on, maybe it will be easier to play and look at the screen than now. So yes, it has some advantages over paper. Of course, we have plenty of normal scores to choose from and open a real collection of Bach's music and sightread. But I feel that carrying a tablet to the church, let's say, and playing it from this machine is easier than carrying an entire collection in a thick volume of organ compositions.
A: I think it's nice when you travel, too.
A: To have your music in one tablet.
V: I had this idea of copying our concert repertoire before going to London--those 4 pieces. And having it on the tablet just in case.
A: Well but you know, playing organ there is really tricky; we'd have to have 2 tablets, because otherwise...how do you imagine it?
V: Yeah, because on one tablet the music sheet that is readable is only... even smaller than 1-page format, right? Layout. And when you have organ duet texture you need at least 2 pages, one for the left and one for the right. So if you want to have a 2-page layout, you have to put it horizontally. But then, the music is twice as long.
A: Yes, and you would have to turn pages a lot, actually, on the tablet.
A: Because, like if you are playing from a real score, you could place even 4 pages at the same time on the music rack.
V: Right. But I guess people who have iPads and other tablets should try it, for themselves, right?
A: Sure, why not?
V: It doesn't hurt too much if you just play for a few minutes, right, and you get a feeling of what/how much you can do; and maybe you will find your own way of using it. Maybe not every day, but for some special occasions. That might help, for other people. And I might use it myself, at church, when I sightread. I don't sightread, for example, for hours and hours, right? I change things: I play from my regular repertoire; I sightread; I improvise. So then, I only have to use my tablet for a number of minutes. Not hours. So, guys...This was Vidas!
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice...
A: 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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