Feature of the Week


| Feature of the Week

The most essential part of reading sheet music is legibility: if you can’t see what’s on the page your music is sure to suffer. From insufficient lighting to spontaneous gusts of wind, there are plenty of physical and technical reasons why reading sheet music can get tricky.

Backlit screens improve legibility greatly, but going digital presents it own usability issues. For instance, the most common iPad screen size—9.7 inches diagonally—is smaller than most pages of printed sheet music. forScore offers cropping and zooming to help enlarge your score and make it easier to read, but for some people it’s just not enough.

To give all musicians the best possible view of their music, we created Reflow. By analyzing each page of sheet music, forScore can automatically detect where most individual systems of music are located. Reflow then renders those areas (at up to twice their original size) and lays them out end-to-end. The result is something like a horizontal teleprompter, where your music is magnified and you read by scrolling from left to right continuously instead of back and forth and up and down through pages of music. It removes page turns while making notation larger and easier to read.

With forScore mini, Reflow is an essential tool that lets you read sheet music on even the smallest screens. Although it’s not as important on an iPad, Reflow is also offered in forScore as an accessibility option. To enable it, visit the “Accessibility” section of forScore’s settings panel and select “Reflow.” Once enabled, Reflow is available in the Tools menu, as an option when customizing gestures and page turner or keyboard shortcuts, and right from the title bar.

While using Reflow, tap the magnifying glass icons to increase or decrease the size of your music, and tap the Page/Scroll button to change how you advance. With Page, forScore quickly scrolls left or right by a set amount when you tap either side of the screen. Scroll mode, on the other hand, moves the music at a steady pace—tap the center of the screen to start or stop it and tap the left or right sides multiple times to speed it up or slow it down. If you fall behind or need to skip ahead, drag the music left or right at any time and scrolling will resume automatically.

Reflow makes its best guesses about where music falls on each page, but you can tweak things from there if needed. Tap “Edit” while using Reflow to add or remove zones, adjust and resize them, or split them up if they overlap and forScore can’t tell them apart. It usually takes just a minute or two (if any adjustments are needed at all), and then you’re free to use Reflow whenever you like with no additional work.

We’ve pioneered many features over the years, but Reflow is definitely the most eye-catching and rewarding. There aren’t many revolutions left to be had with sheet music, but with Reflow we leveraged the technical capabilities of one of the most incredible devices on the planet and reinvented the experience of reading sheet music without requiring any special data or formatting. They’re your own, standard PDF files, augmented and transformed into something entirely new.