StaffPad, an app that allows composers to create digital scores, has received a major update. The program was created specifically for Windows 8.1 and Surface devices and launched back in March of this year. What makes this app unique is its ability to transcribe digital ink to actual musical notes. Today, StaffPad has been updated for Windows 10, bringing with it a new look and a host of updated features.
As the video above demonstrates, this app is not for novices, but music professionals. The benefits of the program range from its ability to recognize user handwriting, sync scores to the cloud via OneDrive, real-time audio playback, and its ability to understand the difference between touch and pin input as users compose through a series of pen gestures and quick access menus. These menus have been redesigned, straying away from the hidden windows in Windows 8.1, and using the newer design language (hamburger menus) from Windows 10. In fact, the entire app has been redesigned as a Windows 10 exclusive with the developer stating that the Windows 8 version will no longer receive updates. Current users will, however, be able to update to the newest version for free.
Additional changes to the app include a redesigned home screen. The previous gray color scheme has been abandoned for a dynamic background that changes based on the time of day and the current weather at your location. A realtime search has also been added that makes finding scores, adding to collections, and editing scores directly from search more efficient. Fly out menus have been added under each score (three white dots) which reveals additional options such as access previous versions of the score, sort, edit, and delete.
These design features find they're way to the Score page, where the bulk of this app's work is done. Instead of swiping from the bottom to reveal the command bar as in the Windows 8.1 version, there is now a permanent command bar at the top, with a carrot indicating access to more options. This command bar also houses a Composer assistant, a Cortana-like helper that responds to voice commands. This feature can be used to process commands such as “add strings in 3/4 , in F major” or “140bpm at bar 5”.
Other notable additions include a partial bar selection, swing playback options, directional symbols, sketch layer colors, and copy and paste to OneNote. The developer also notes several ways to optimize the user experience. These suggestions include running StaffPad in Windows 10's tablet mode, disabling the Surface Pen's press and hold gesture, and removing the pen cursor.
Overall, StaffPad is striving to bring a very comprehensive solution to composers, providing features that optimize productivity, function, and usability on Windows 10. If you are using the current version of StaffPad, let us know how you feel about these changes in the comments below.