feature of the week

Dashboard: Reports

| feature of the week

Over the past several weeks we’ve taken a look at forScore 9’s new Dashboard feature. If you missed them, be sure to check out our previous articles discussing the Analytics and Goals tabs in the Dashboard interface. Today we’ll be discussing the third and final tab, Reports.

While Analytics offer you a way to view your statistics, and Goals guide you to a specific outcome, Reports are used to collate and share information about your practice habits with others (or to archive them for your own purposes). The Reports tab lets you create templates based on certain criteria, then generate a PDF file from that template at any time and share it however you like.

Tap the + button to create your first report template, and tap the circled arrow button on the right-hand side to view and edit its settings. Give it a name, make it item- or setlist-specific if you like, and set a time interval: daily, weekly, or monthly. Choose how far back the report should go (i.e. the last three days, the last four weeks, or two months) and whether or not to include the current day, week or month. Finally, if you haven’t picked a specific item or setlist to focus on, you can choose whether or not your report should include statistics for items, for setlists, or for both.

Back in the main Reports view, tap your report to generate a PDF file and see how all of your data is tallied up and presented. Tap the share icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen to share or print your report.

That completes our tour of Dashboard, so now you’re ready to practice armed with more data than ever before and the right tools to take full advantage of it.

Dashboard: Goals

| feature of the week

Last week we began our discussion of Dashboard with the Analytics tab, which shows you how forScore can collect data to give you insights into your playing habits. That’s just the start of what it can do, though, and today we’ll be discussing Goals, the second of three tabs within the Dashboard interface.

The Goals tab lets you to create goals to track your progress per day, week, month, or all-time. The main view shows all of your goals in a list, and gives you a quick overview of your progress towards each of them.

Tap on any of your goals to see a more detailed view and get more information about your goal or change its settings. You’ll also see a timeline along the top that shows your statistics for each day, week, or month: these aren’t just helpful for you, you can also tap on any of them to share your results with friends or colleagues via email, iMessage, Twitter, Facebook, and more. That shared experience really adds a new dimension to your forScore experience, and can provide some helpful accountability if needed.

Goals can be defined by number of views or time spent playing, and they can be general or focused on a specific piece or setlist. For example, you could set a goal to ensure that you play for thirty minutes a week, or use another goal to ensure that you’re practicing one particular score at least three times a day to get ready for an upcoming recital.

That’s the second of three tabs in the Dashboard, so check back next week to find more about the last one—Reports—or catch up by reading last week’s overview of Analytics.

Dashboard: Analytics

| feature of the week

When we introduced Dashboard last year with forScore 9, we knew it was unlike any feature we had ever created. It required secure data collection and brand new interface elements that could present complex data in a logical, useful way.

To achieve this, we designed Dashboard with three specific uses in mind. Goals, Analytics, and Reports. Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking a look at each, and we’ll start with Analytics.

If you allow it, forScore collects information about which setlists, scores, and bookmarks you view and for how long. This data collection is secure (never stored anywhere other than on your own device) and strictly opt-in, so the first time you open Dashboard you’ll be asked to agree to allow forScore to begin collecting data. Once you’ve done so, you’ll see the Analytics tab; it’ll be empty since there’s no data yet, but after you’ve spent some time playing you’ll be able to come back and see what Dashboard can do.

In the top section, you can see a daily total of your play time and number of views. Below that, you’ll see a list of the items or setlists you played, sorted from most played to least. Tap on any of those items to see the day-to-day play time and number of views (like the same chart at the top of the screen, but just for that specific item).

These graphs already give you a lot of insight into your playing habits, but there’s a lot more you can do with it. Be sure to check back next week when we’ll be discussing the Goals tab!

Services to Setlists

| feature of the week

Last week, with the release of forScore 9.4, we introduced a new feature that lets you download a file from the Services panel and add it to a setlist in one step. Previously, you’d need to open the Services panel, locate and download the file you want, then close the panel and open the Setlists menu, select your setlist, tap the “+” button, and find the new file in the list (the “Newest” sort option really helps here) to add it to your setlist.

Now, things are a lot simpler. In the Services panel, tap and hold a PDF or 4SC file with two fingers and—assuming you have some setlists in your library—you’ll be prompted to either download it normally, download it to the current setlist (see below), or download it to any setlist in your library. You can also tap the “Edit” button and select multiple files, then tap and hold the download icon in the toolbar, and your selection will apply to all of those files. If you’re using iOS 8 or newer, you can swipe from right to left over an item and choose “Download…” as well.

The “current setlist” is either the setlist you’re currently playing from, if applicable, otherwise it’s the setlist that’s currently selected in the Setlists menu. If neither of these is true, you’ll only be prompted to download the file normally or to choose from a list of setlists.

So quit jumping back and forth and save yourself some time by using this new feature the next time you’re setting up your setlists!

Annotation Tools

| feature of the week

This week we released forScore 9.4, so today we wanted to discuss one of the new features added with this update—the ability to control how forScore remembers your last-used tool when entering annotation mode.

With earlier versions, the last selected tool always remained active between annotation sessions. So if you had been placing stamps on one page and then started annotating a few pages later, the Stamps tool would still be active. That includes shapes, each of your drawing presets, as well as other tools like Type or Erase.

This worked well enough for a long time, but with the introduction of the Apple Pencil and forScore’s live annotations things have gotten a little more complicated. Since the annotation controls are hidden until you start drawing, it can be frustrating if the last thing you did was erase something and you want to take notes instead.

Now, with forScore 9.4, you can control how this works in two different ways (visit the new “Annotation tools” section of forScore’s settings panel to view and change these options). Set a default drawing tool—stamps, shapes, or any one of your freeform drawing presets—and that tool will always be active every time you start annotating. Or, if you need a more nuanced solution, check and uncheck tool types instead to either allow them to be saved between annotation sessions or not.

For instance, say you’ve highlighted a few things on a page and you dragged your finger a little too far over; tap the Eraser tool and clean up your markings, then tap the “Done” button to save your changes. If you’ve unchecked the “Erase” tool in the new settings panel, the next time you begin annotating the highlighter will be selected.

Custom Categories

| feature of the week

Organization is personal—what makes sense to one person may seem completely backwards to others. That’s especially true for musicians and while some types of information are used more commonly to categorize sheet music than others, we know there’s just no perfect set that will work for everyone.

That’s why forScore lets you tap to rename most of the metadata panel’s fields so they can better fit your needs. Names like “tags” and “labels” are meant to be generic because they’re so flexible, so go ahead and change them!

In fact, each of the following field names can be changed: composers, genres, tags, labels, rating, difficulty, time, and key. So now you can set everything up just how you like it (you could even use emoji characters instead of text if you really want to get fancy).

Mastering the Metronome

| feature of the week

Over the past two weeks we’ve explored forScore’s metronome, from the basics like setting the time signature and BPM values, to more specialized features like count in and autoturn.

All of these functions are great, but the best part is that once you’ve set them up, you can use them all without even opening the metronome panel. As we discussed in some of last year’s Feature of the Week articles, you can use special gestures, a Bluetooth device, or a MIDI device to toggle the metronome. Whichever mode you used most recently—audible, visible, or both—is activated with just one quick action.

You can also use Buttons to toggle the metronome, but they’re even more powerful than gestures or shortcuts because they can also be used to adjust the metronome’s BPM partway through a score. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet, you can read all about them here.

And finally, wrapping up our grand tour of the Metronome, we take a moment to discuss those sound effects. Let’s face it, they’re just not for everyone—no one set of sounds could be—and if that’s you, then be sure to check out the “Accessibility” feature of forScore’s settings panel. There, you can replace the two default sounds with two WAV files of your choosing—just add them to your forScore library first via iTunes’ File Sharing panel and they’ll be available in that menu.

So that concludes our journey through the various features of forScore’s metronome. We hope you enjoyed it and perhaps learned something new, and we’ll be back next week with something completely different!

More Metronome

| feature of the week

Last week we took a look at the most basic functions of forScore’s built-in metronome. We discussed its various modes and the essential time signature and BPM values. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t had a chance to yet.

Just below the metronome’s center dial, two other settings may be of use to you: autoturn and count in. Both of these settings have a value and a toggle button (a blue border and blue text when it’s disabled, and a solid blue color with white text when it’s enabled). Autoturn turns the page for you automatically once the metronome reaches a certain number of beats or measures. Count in plays the metronome for just as long as you need it to, then shuts off automatically. Just like the time signature and BPM values, Count In is saved automatically per score so you only need to set it once. Autoturn values are also saved automatically, per page instead of per score since the number of beats per page may vary.

When you’re using an auxiliary audio output (headphones, a receiver, or wireless speakers), an icon will show up just above the top of the dial in the metronome panel. This control lets you choose whether to play the metronome out of the left channel only, the right channel only, or both channels. Tap it to toggle between these three modes.

That completes our discussion of the metronome panel and its various controls, but there’s more to come—next week we’ll be talking a little bit about the various features of the metronome that you won’t find in the metronome panel itself, so stay tuned!

Metronome Basics

| feature of the week

Today we take a moment to discuss that trusty timekeeper, the metronome. Although there are many versions out there for you to try, both physical and digital, we built one right into forScore so you don’t have to leave your music to use one. It’s accurate (trust us—we went through a lot of takes to find the impeccable iteration you see today) and there’s a lot more to it than you may notice at a glance, but for now we’ll stick with the basics.

The metronome’s most important value is the BPM, or Beats Per Minute. This value is shown in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and you can change it one of three different ways: tap the BPM value in the corner to type in a new one, slide the circular dial around, or tap twice in the center of the panel to set it by the timing of your taps. The BPM value is saved automatically for each item in your library, so you only need to set it once and it’ll adjust as needed.

In the top right-hand corner of the screen, you’ll find the time signature. Tap here to change it by picking from a few common values or by typing in a new one (use the “/” key in the keypad to move from the top of the time signature to bottom). This is also saved automatically per score or bookmark, so you just need to set it once for each of your scores.

And, of course, right at the bottom of the screen, you can use the segmented control to turn the metronome’s various modes on and off. The “audible” mode uses sounds to guide you, with a “tick” upbeat and a “tock” downbeat. The “visible” mode flashes a black border around the page so you can see the timing instead. Use “both” to play sounds and flash the border simultaneously.

That’s just the start, though, so be sure to check back next week and onward as we continue this series and explore forScore’s modestly monochromatic metronome.

Resetting Annotation Tools

| feature of the week

Although you can customize them and create your own, forScore includes several drawing presets and a wide range of stamps by default. If you ever accidentally make a permanent change and want to reset them all back to their original state, you can do so by visiting forScore’s settings panel. Right at the bottom, tap “Reset” and choose to reset either stamps or drawing presets. Keep in mind that this will undo any changes you’ve made, removing any custom stamps or drawing presets you may have created.

Page 10 of 16« First...89101112...Last »