Introduction to NoteAbility Pro

NoteAbilityPro™ for iPad is a modified version of NoteAbilityPro for Mac OS-X which has been used for many years for professional music engraving. With NoteAbilityPro for iPad you can create detailed music scores, play your scores using the iPad's built-in audio devices, extract instrumental parts if needed, and print out the finished score on your compatible printer. Files created using NoteAbilityPro for iPad are compatible with NoteAbilityPro on Mac OS-X, so you can transfer files between the two environments using iTunes or iCloud.

Program Design

NoteAbilityPro has a page-oriented design, and emphasizes flexible graphical control of music images, intelligent automation of notational syntax, WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) display and an accessible and direct user interface. A blank score is set up according to a template specifying page size, initial number of systems on the page, staves per system and measures per system. Using the paradigm of a composer writing on pages of manuscript, the music images are entered directly onto the music pages at any location and in any order. Notes can also be entered using an on-screen piano keyboard.

The important User-Interfaces to NoteAbilityPro are outlined below:

NoteAbilityPro User Controls

The majority of the NoteAbilityPro for iPad controls are located at the bottom of the screen. There are three rows of controls which are always visible during score entry and editing. The bottom row of controls is the Main Toolbar which is used for basic operations such as:

  • displaying icons for the File menu and Operations menu
  • showing or hiding the on-screen keyboard,
  • controlling score playback
  • changing the score magnification
  • undoing or redoing actions
  • changing score pages
  • displaying the Help files.

The middle row of controls is the Tools Palette which is used for setting the activity mode (such as Note Entry, Editing, Score Formatting), for selecting the category of music images to be entered into the score as well as some of the most common editing operations such as vertical adjustment, slurring and beaming.

Above the Tools Palette is the Variable Image Palette which changes according to the Activity Mode currently selected or the category of images being used. For example, when the Note Tool is selected in the Tool Palette, all possible note types and modifications are shown in the Variable Image Palette. When the Edit Tool (Arrow Icon) in the Tools Palette is selected, the Variable Image Palette is altered to display buttons for all the possible editing operations.

- Button color is used to distinguish between different kinds of actions. Blue buttons indicate the current setting of an Activity Mode or a set of music images. Red buttons indicate a selected music image ready for entry into the score and Green buttons are editing operations that cause changes to the selected images.

Entry Cursor

One of the important design feature of NoteAbilityPro is the Entry Cursor which controls the position that notes and rests are entered into the score. Other images such as dynamic markings, text and graphics can be freely placed on the score, but notes and rests will always appear at the left edge of the Entry Cursor at the indicated beat position. Whenever a note or rest is entered, the Entry Cursor moves to the next beat position. However, it is important to know how to manually reposition the Entry Cursor when you want to switch staves or move to a different location in the score. The simplest way to move the Entry Cursor is to press your finger in the Drag Cursor area and drag the Entry Cursor to a new location. You can also use the Entry Cursor Controls on the Main Toolbar to move the Entry Cursor forward and backward on the current staff. Finally, you can jump to a different page or measure by using the Measure and Page Controls discussed below.

The Entry Cursor also has buttons that can be used to perform some actions that are particularly useful when you are entering music directly on the screen (as opposed to using the piano keyboard).

  • Switch Mode button quickly changes between Insert Mode and Select Mode (the icon indicates which mode you will be switching to.)
  • Staff Above button shifts the Entry Cursor to the staff above the current staff within the same system.
  • Staff Below button shifts the Entry Cursor to the staff below the current staff within the same system.
  • Jump Back button shifts the Entry Cursor to the previous beat position (this is used for chord entry.)
  • Sharpen Last Note button makes the previous note a chromatic semitone higher (natural becomes sharp, sharp becomes double-sharp)
  • Flatten Last Note button makes the previous note a chromatic semitone lower (natural becomes flat, flat becomes double-flat)
  • Insert Rest button inserts a rest equivalent to the current note value (if an eighth note is selected then an eighth rest will be entered)
  • Undo button reverses the last change to the score and reverts the Entry Cursor to its previous position.

Measure & Page Controls

At the top of the iPad there are controls that allow you to quickly navigate around your score. All measures and pages in the open score are shown on a grid. By touching or dragging your finger the Entry Cursor will move to that location in the score. The top-left corner of the iPad displays a Command that corresponds to the next image to be entered into the score, and the name of the score appears in the top-right corner. Normally the Command is set using the buttons that corresponds to every music image, but Commands can also be set by typing messages if needed.

See also

© Keith A. Hamel 2013-2020 - All Rights Reserved