feature of the week

Renaming Categories

| feature of the week

With forScore, your menus are populated using metadata that you assign to each score. This allows scores and bookmarks to appear in multiple lists, as applicable, rather than being confined to one concrete location (as with files and folders).

If you make a spelling error or want to change a category later, however, you’ll need to change that metadata value for each of the scores or bookmarks that use them. Batch editing makes this process easier, but there’s another way to quickly rename a category: from the main menu, tap “Edit” and select the composer, genre, tag, or label you want to change and tap “rename.” Once you’ve edited the category’s name appropriately, just save it and that value will be replaced for every affected item in your library.

Metadata Auto-Completion

| feature of the week

Instead of relying on you to manually manage files and folders, forScore uses metadata like composers, genres, and tags to dynamically generate lists that organize your music and make your collection easily browsable. That means that in order to take full advantage of this system you’ll need to do a little bit of work up front, and features like batch editing make this process much simpler and faster.

The Metadata panel includes another set of tools that help you reuse existing values when typing in the Composers, Genres, Tags, or Labels fields. When you begin editing one of these fields, the virtual keyboard will appear with an input bar along the top that features a list button (the icon with three horizontal lines) and a “Fetch” button (learn more about this feature here). If you’re using a physical keyboard or certain page turning devices, the virtual keyboard may not show, but the input bar will still appear along the bottom of the screen.

Before you begin typing, or if you’ve added a comma to the end of the existing values to indicate that you’d like to add a new value, tapping the list button presents a popup that allows you to see all of the values that currently exist across all of the scores in your library. To use any of these values for the current score, just tap them—forScore automatically adds a comma at the end so you can tap multiple values and add them with just a few quick steps.

If you start typing, forScore checks all of the existing values for that field to see if any of them begin with the text you’ve supplied. If so, forScore filters that list to only show those results, and replaces the “Fetch” button with the highest ranking result, allowing you to use it with just one tap.

So the next time you’re adding metadata to a score in your library, don’t forget to look down at this bar as you type to see if you’ve already used that value before. If so, reusing it is quick and easy, and ensures that spelling mistakes don’t create multiple, similar items in forScore’s lists.

Permissions

| feature of the week

As technology grows and becomes more complex and pervasive, the need for security increases dramatically. What used to be little more than a few chat room conversations has quickly expanded to include everything from taxes and medical records to doorbell cameras and cars, so it’s no wonder Apple takes security very seriously.

Sometimes, apps like forScore can help you accomplish certain tasks more easily by accessing some information or hardware. To record yourself practicing a song and review it later, forScore needs to be able to access your microphone. To help you digitize your music on the go, Darkroom can use your device’s camera or import existing images from your Photos library. To allow you to link specific audio tracks from the Music app to pieces in your sheet music library, forScore requires access to your Music library.

The first time you use these features, iOS prompts you to decide whether or not you want to grant forScore permission to access the relevant information or hardware component. If you choose to, forScore can provide the full use of that feature. Otherwise, the feature may be limited or completely disabled.

If you accidentally make the wrong choice or change your mind later, these permissions can be controlled from within the Settings app, under “forScore.” The first three options, “Microphone,” “Camera,” and “Media & Apple Music,” each have a switch next to them that can be flipped on or off at any time to grant or revoke access, respectively.

In some ways, the magic of modern technology really comes from devices accurately predicting and responding to your needs and intentions without you even needing to express them, but when these devices can do so much there can be no “magic” when it comes to protecting your data and privacy. Sometimes, a good old fashioned on/off switch is the only way to provide the kind of explicit agreement needed to leverage these components responsibly.

Music: Settings

| feature of the week

As we’ve seen over the past several weeks, forScore allows you to combine sheet music and audio tracks to great effect. You can automatically queue up the right song, control playback without leaving the app, loop a specific section, and even adjust the playback pitch and speed as needed. There are a few other use cases, however, that require forScore to behave differently, and for those situations we complete our series with a look at two options in forScore’s settings panel.

By default, when you open forScore it asserts control over the device’s audio playback resources and stops any audio that’s currently playing (so it can queue up the right song, if you’ve set one up). If you prefer, forScore can defer to other audio sources and only assert control over the device’s audio system when you press the play button for a linked track. In some cases, depending on how the other app plays audio, forScore may be able to display that track’s artwork, metadata, and allow you to control playback. In this situation, you’ll see a round “x” button in the top right-hand corner of the media box that lets you interrupt playback and turn control back over to forScore.

Another option in forScore’s settings panel lets you choose to use the system’s audio engine. In order to provide advanced features like pitch and granular speed adjustments, forScore uses its own audio engine built using advanced iOS frameworks. A simpler, but less powerful way to play music works by letting iOS handle playback instead (using the “Music” app). Although the first option is more powerful, forScore’s audio engine relies on the limited resources that iOS provides the app, whereas the system engine gets priority status. In short, if you experience stuttering or audio glitches during periods of heavy activity and you don’t need the advanced adjustments provided by the in-app engine, this setting may help.

Audio playback is an essential part of the forScore experience for many people, and there’s a lot of variation in how musicians prefer to work. With these settings and all of the powerful tools available in forScore’s media box, there’s a lot of flexibility available to each customer to find their most natural way of working, listening, and playing.

Music: Replay

| feature of the week

When you’ve paired sheet music in your forScore library with an audio track or recording, you not only make it easier to manage playback as you practice or perform, you also unlock the ability to record page turns based on the track’s current time and allow forScore to flip pages for you during subsequent plays. We call this feature Replay.

To set it up, tap the Replay button in the media box (the page with an arrow in it) and then turn pages as the song progresses. Whenever you play that track again, as long as Replay is enabled, pages will turn themselves at the same point. While replay mode is on, small lines within the seek bar will show you where saved page turns are located, and an “x” button appears on the right-hand side of the seek bar allowing you to delete saved page turns and start from scratch.

With just a little bit of work up front, you can take advantage of this automation to save yourself time and effort every time you play that song.

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