Despite several glitches, iSheetMusic could be handy for musicians
ISheetMusic is yet another sheet music app for the iPad, and while it lacks polish, it has a few features that make it stand out from the morass of musical manuscript apps in the App Store.
The application is simple. You pick a song from your library and hit play. After counting you in, the app shows you the music notation, complete with lyrics and guitar chords, and indicates which bar you are on with a pulsing red band. When you reach the end of a line, the whole sheet scrolls up and to show another stave at the bottom, meaning you’ll never, ever have to turn any pages (although you can if you like, when playback is paused).
The big difference from apps like the beautiful Etude is that there is a proper in-app store, with music from The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton to the Everybody Hates Ned Flanders song from The Simpsons (the app comes with the usual range of public domain oldies like Amazing Grace to let you test it out).
There are only around 1,800 songs in the catalog, and they are pretty hard to find. Which brings us to that lack of polish. Browsing the categories in the store seems to be a somewhat arbitrary experience, with songs disappearing from lists and reappearing again, seemingly at random.
Further, the interface needs work. While you can pinch to zoom, the zoom isn’t constant — it’s in discrete steps. Thus you pinch out and nothing happens until you let go, whereupon the zoom level suddenly jumps.
The on-screen controls are awkward too. They’re tiny, which isn’t so friendly when trying to hit it quickly in the middle of a song. Worse, the controls disappear. A small black tab at the bottom of the screen shows that they can be retrieved, but how do you do it? Touching the bar sometimes works, although I at first found I had to double tap it to get the controls to pop back up.
Nothing in iSheetMusic is bad, it just seems unfinished. Then again, it’s free to try out. Then again, again, you can’t add any of your own tracks — you have to buy them (unless you really, really want to learn to play Danny Boy).