Microsoft today announced the arrival of StaffPad in the Windows store — a music composition app designed specifically for Surface because of the power of the Surface Pen. It recognizes your handwritten music, and converts it into a beautifully typeset score and even lets you play it back, drawing from a full orchestral sample library. It’s an amazing use of the pen.
WRITE MUSIC, NATURALLY.
StaffPad is a groundbreaking music notation application, featuring advanced handwriting recognition. Write music, using your digital pen*, and StaffPad will transform your handwritten notation into a beautifully typeset score which you can then edit, play back, print and share. For composers and musicians, StaffPad revolutionises the art of writing music.
StaffPad has been designed from the ground up for pen input. Simply write your music straight on to the screen, using your device’s pen. As you move from bar to bar, StaffPad will convert your handwriting into a beautifully engraved score. You can draw notes, beams, stems, articulations, accidentals, slurs, ties and more. It’s the most natural way to write music on digital device, ever.
AN ORCHESTRA IN THE TIP OF YOUR PEN
StaffPad contains a bespoke playback engine, and an entire orchestra which has been meticulously recorded and programmed to play back your score with incredible realism. Multiple dynamics layers, multiple recorded articulations, repetition samples and smart playback rules ensure that what you see is what you hear. The entire symphony orchestra is represented, and more instruments are available to purchase from the in-app store.
StaffPad is powerful. Everything from a basic piano lead sheet to a full symphony score can be written with StaffPad.
A BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE
Writing music should be the focus of a composer. StaffPad handles everything else for you whilst you work. The interface has been designed to reduce clutter, and is context sensitive – showing only the information you want, when you want it.
PEN AND TOUCH
By combining the power of digital inking and multitouch, we can offer a no-compromises approach to virtual manuscript. Use your finger to move around the score, and pinch to zoom – with butter-smooth scrolling. When you want to write music, just use the pen. Use your eraser button on the pen to remove both ink strokes and existing notation. You can also draw freehand on the score, using the sketch layer, to quickly brainstorm and leave notes/comments for yourself and others.
PRINT YOUR RESULTS
StaffPad will intelligently layout the score when it’s time to print. You can print the entire score, as well as individual parts for each musician. StaffPad has smart collision avoidance and music layout rules which handle the reflowing of the music to a page-based layout automatically.
SHARE YOUR WORK
StaffPad allows you to easily share and export your work. You can export MIDI and MusicXML, should you wish to continue working on your score in other programs. You can also export your score to MP3/WAV format, or quickly email an MP3 of your work in just a couple of taps via the Windows 8.1 share charm. StaffPad also supports import of MusicXML and MIDI files.
SCORE SYNC AND AUTO-SAVE
StaffPad is always saving your score, and keeping track of versions – which you can return to at anytime. By saving your scores to OneDrive, you can ensure that your scores are kept in sync across all your devices. StaffPad also syncs your settings and preferences. You can also organise your scores into ‘collections’, meaning that your scores and projects stay neatly organised, for easy access. You can even pin frequently accessed scores straight to the Start Screen.
StaffPad is the first notation application which allows you to easily draw dynamics/music expression data right onto the staff. By toggling the expression layer, you can elegantly draw in additional dynamics detail, which can enhance the realism of playback without compromising the existing dynamics markings on your score.
StaffPad intelligently handles transposing instruments, allowing you to write in concert pitch and toggle to transposing when you’re ready, or when printing. You can write music in multiple voices, transpose selections, reverse stem directions, quickly repeat bars and insert text intuitively via the quick input tiles. Quick symbols provide the easiest way to enter trills, tremolos, fermatas, rehearsal marks, pedal markings, hairpins and much more.
StaffPad is designed for professional composers and musicians, but it’s also a great learning tool for students. Within the application there are multiple video tutorials explaining how to use the app, and key musical concepts.
Download it here from Windows Store.