3 Ways to “Going Digital”

Many musicians are put off  “Going Digital” because they don’t know how they will get their music into a digital display system – ie a tablet or laptop. This article describes three ways to get your music into Power Music and start taking advantage of using electronic music display.

In the blog post, we will take a look at:

  • PDF files
  • Scanning paper music
  • Power Music virtual songbooks

As always we welcome your comments and feedback on articles.

If you use chord sheets, there are other ways of importing these into Power Music – but that’s a another article! For some help on creating chord sheets see the links to our Help Centre at the end of this article.

ONE: Importing from PDF Files

By far the most common source of music is PDF files. It is important to understand that PDF files are just “containers” for either text and/or images. So when you view a PDF file in, for example Adobe Reader, it can be quite difficult to work out if what you see is text or a image.

One simple way to tell is to click on the Select tool in Adobe reader (the arrow, not the hand pan tool) and try selecting some text. If it can be selected like in a word processor you have text in the PDF if the whole block selects you have an image.

Chord Sheets

The “text or image” thing is very important if you want to import chord sheets from a PDF. If you are importing chord sheets from PDF, then if the chord sheet has been stored as an image (not text) then you can’t easily convert it to a transposable chord sheet or even edit the chord sheet. There are ways to solve this – Power Music Professional converts the image to text by performing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on the image of the chord sheet in the PDF. However due to the limitations of OCR (the way it deals with TABs and spaces) you might find you have to do a bit of editing of the chord sheet to move the position of the chords above the lyrics. But at least you don’t have to type in the whole chord sheet from scratch!

Sheet Music – Scores or “dots”

When importing sheet music it does not matter how the music is stored in the PDF. Most sheet music in PDF is in image format, so when you import it into Power Music you are effectively scanning the music in. The important thing here is to choose a sensible dpi for the import. Too small a dpi (<50 dpi) and the music will be fuzzy and “jaggy”, too high a dpi (>300 dpi) and you can end up with quite a large file size for each page of the music. Also since even the very best screens (retina display on iPad) are about 260 dpi, any higher dpi would be pointless. Large file sizes will use up more storage space and slow down page turning. So stick with about 150 dpi for the import resolution.

There are Help Videos/Articles on importing PDFs for all editions of Power Music:

Import a single sheet music song from PDF (Professional/Essentials) Watch the Video
Import multiple sheet music songs from a folder of song files or
from one PDF with multiple songs (Professional/Essentials)
Watch the Video
Import a chord sheet from PDF (Professional/Essentials) Watch the Video
Import sheet music from PDF  (Mac) Watch the Video
Import sheet music from PDF (iPad App/Reader) Read the Article
Import sheet music from PDF (Power Music Accessible Format AF) Read the Article

TWO: Scanning Paper Music

Most musicians already have a paper library of their music, in the form of books of music or folders and binders of photocopied pages.  “Going Digital” involves either scanning in their music or trying to source the music again in digital format – PDF or from the Power Music Store.

If you decide to scan your music, the comments I made about dpi settings in the PDF section above, apply even more so. Just because your scanner boasts 2400 dpi resolution does not mean you should be scanning your music at that dpi. If you did then you would create massive file sizes and see no obvious improvement on the screen than if you scanned at 300dpi. Also when scanning you should think carefully if you need to scan in colour. For the vast majority of music, grayscale scanning is best and results in a file size a fraction of the size of full colour scanning.

Scanning is built in to both the Windows and Mac editions of Power Music and any scanner with a TWAIN driver can be used. However using a flatbed scanner can be slow and cumbersome especially when trying to scan in pages for a book. You could just cut the pages from the book (after all, you won’t be needing it again) but that is not an alternative for many people!

The MusicOne scanner is a USB document scanner that is the fastest way of scanning music into Power Music or for use in other Apps using the FREE Cambron EasyCapture program. Power Music Professional has the software for the MusicOne scanner built in. We sell the scanners on their own here and we do bundle offers on the scanner with Power Music Professional and optional page turner pedals here.

Again there are Help Videos on all aspects of scanning your music:

How to scan sheet music (Professional/Essentials) Watch the Video
Using the MusicOne scanner in Power Music. (Professional) Watch the Video
Using the MusicOne scanner with Cambron EasyCapture
in Windows (Part 1 & 2)
Watch the Video

THREE: Power Music Virtual Songbooks

If you don’t want the hassle of importing your music from PDF or scanning – the answer is Power Music Virtual Songbooks. All the songs in the virtual songbooks have been specifically created for use in Power Music.  Virtual songbooks can be used in any edition of Power Music – Windows, Mac or iPad, and there are free editions of Power Music available for all platforms.

A Virtual Songbook contains:

  • High quality piano scores
  • Transposable chord sheets (if applicable)
  • Lyrics for use in song projection or hymn sheets (if applicable)
  • Metadata (Author, Copyright, Category, Bible references etc) to help locate any song.

If you are a pianist or organist, there is a good range of Kevin Mayhew classical piano and organ books available as virtual songbooks in the Power Music Store.

If you are a worship or church musician, you will find almost every worship song or hymn – modern or traditional – in one of the Power Music Virtual Songbooks.

To find out more about the Power Music Store and what is available read the article What is the Power Music Store? or go directly to the Power Music Store

Examples of Worship Songbooks in the Power Music Store

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Creating and Importing Chord Sheets.

All editions of Power Music have a chord sheet editor built in. The editor allows you to type in a chord sheet, cut and paste from another app or webpage as well as import from ChordPro, text files and PDF (see above).

For more help on creating, editing and importing chord sheets, click one of these links:

Power Music Professional and Essentials (Windows)

Power Music Mac

 Power Music App (iPad)

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