StaffPad - a competitor?

• Jun 23, 2021 - 00:18

I just got to know StaffPad from the Muse Group, to which MuseScore also belongs. I must say I'm shocked with what I saw. I'm seriously thinking about buying a stylus touch tablet (or whatever they call it), to write music with my own handwriting and see it immediately become beautiful print score. The ease of editing also got my attention, according to the demo video on the site.

Now my question is: Isn't StaffPad going to debunk MuseScore? It seems to have all the features for becoming a stand-alone, fully featured score creation app, including beautifully crafted playback sounds.
I've heard a demo and it sounds great.

I would love to be wrong in my assumption above, since I like MuseScore so much and the way it works, and I got used to it. Can anyone from the MS developer's team tell me wrong? I'm anxious to hear from you guys.
Remember StaffPad and MuseScore now come from the same source, the Muse Group.


In reply to by frfancha

According to the site, StaffPad can export/import MIDI and MusicXML formats. How well it does that, I couldn't tell. I've never used it, but I guess it's worth trying. But what struck me about this software is how it handles handwriting the music material, both for creating the score or editing it. Of course, that requires a pen-and-touch pad, which is not a small buy (ex., Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Bundle – 12.3" Touch - Intel i7-10th Gen 16GB Ram - 512GB SSD sells for about $2K at Amazon).

To me the products are complimentary.

StaffPad fills a gap in the product offering for those that need/want to notate by hand/on the go. Make it easy to get your composing workflow going and capture ideas.

MuseScore is more focused on the engraving side of the score; offering more layout/style options and settings for typesetting it.

In reply to by jeetee

This comparison makes sense. Now, one feature that StaffPad has and that I would love to see in MuseScore is the ability to graphically draw, below the notes in a staff, a line (graph) that indicates how the velocity (loudness) of notes should go up and down as the music plays along.
I understand that this is more of a "play-priority" than an "engraving-priority" feature, but anyway, this is my suggestion for a future version.

In reply to by jeetee

A friend gave me a brief demonstration of StaffPad yesterday. He's been using it for several months, and has produced some wonderful sounding scores. He says the sound from his tablet's tiny speakers rivals both Sibelius and MuseScore's output on his full studio workstation.

Staffpad is a wonder to behold, but it is not the easiest of products to use. The learning curve is a little daunting, and his output is nowhere near what he normally achieves on MuseScore. The first few days he only managed to input a handful of notes that looked and sounded like he intended. He still has difficulty inputting simple rests on the staff, and several times during his demonstration, he had to redo notes and rhythms which the app misinterpreted from his input strokes.

His assessment is that he definitely sees Staffpad as his main on-the-fly input platform at some point in the future. He still prefers to export MusicXML to MuseScore for touch-up and engraving, which does result in a bit of a muddle as regards versioning of scores.

In reply to by luizcrodrigues

I'd say it's exactly what I imagine - that under the best possible circumstances, it's possible to get good and/or lucky enough to have great success. But as with every other handwriting recognition or speech recognition AI system I've ever seen or heard of, I would assume that in practice in the real world with real users it's quite error prone.

Siri doesn't ever get anything wrong in the demo video videos, either.

The opportunity for collaboration between these two products is there for the taking. I’m out on the road with my iPad and have an idea. I start up StaffPad and quickly get my ideas down. I use the scaled down versions of SpitFire Audio or Berlin Orchestral samples that work with StaffPad to test it out. Then, when I get home, I upload it to my PC and use MuseScore and my full sample libraries to finish the score.

Then maybe I take it into Cubase or Logic to finish it off.

Since StaffPad can export Music XML it will mostly work probably, I haven’t tried it yet. But if the two worked together as one to make it seamless… could be some cool stuff. I have exported MIDI from StaffPad and imported into Logic Pro X and for the most part it works well.

Surely the Muse Group isn’t buying theses products up without some idea of how an entire eco-system could be built around them.

Hand writing guitar TAB would be much slower than keyboard entry so StaffPad would be a non starter for me. It does look impressive with notation and at £75 looks to be good value for money.

I'm using StaffPad for composition. If I have an idea I can turn on the tablet (I'm using an iPad) and start working within seconds rather than the much longer setup on a computer.

I have exported StaffPad mxml files to Dorico for typesetting with some clean-up required. I am hoping to move to MuseScore for this step; however, when importing mxml into MuseScore (OS: macOS 13.0, Arch.: x86_64, MuseScore version (64-bit): 4.0.0-223472200, revision: 5485621) voicings in the piano get all messed up.

Voice 1 by itself imports into MS as Voice 1, as expected.
Voice 1 with voice 2 imports as Voice 2 and voice 2 imports as voice 1.
Once this weirdness starts V1 in right hand and V1 in Left hand are imported as V2 in right hand and the LH material becomes V1 but was moved to the left-hand staff.

So I'm looking forward to future improvements and perhaps a seamless import/export to and from StaffPad/MuseScore.

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