StaffPad Music Notation App

David William Hearn with StaffPad.

David William Hearn with StaffPad.

StaffPad is a brand new music notation app that "recognizes your handwritten music and converts it into a beautifully typeset score which you can further edit, playback, print and share." 

Created by the team of Matthew Tesch (Lead Developer) and David William Hearn (Designer, Composer), StaffPad seeks to combine the best aspects of handwritten notation with the ease of digital editing. The app comes with a large library of built in playback sounds and includes many features that long-time Finale or Sibelius users will be looking for, such as: multiple voice layers, transposition, and quick editing. StaffPad files can be exported as MusicXML, MIDI, MP3, or WAV.

Since I haven't used the app, some of the questions I would have before purchase are:

  • How will the app work for users of Finale or Sibelius who are already very fast at input using a midi keyboard?

  • How accurate will the notation be? If it works as seamlessly as it appears in the video, StaffPad should be a home run. If multiple clean-up passes are required, I think composers will quickly revert to their old notation software.

  • StaffPad is only available for Windows due to its use of pen input. This seems like the best way to go but will severely limit the market. If you don't already own one, is it worth purchasing a dedicated Microsoft Surface tablet for use with StaffPad?

  • As a long-time Finale user, is it worth the expenditure of worship ministry budget for the app and hardware, even with the relatively low cost? Or, would I be better off sticking with Finale, saving the money, and avoiding the need to learn a new piece of software?

StaffPad looks to be a powerful and well designed app. If it functions as well as it appears to, Finale and Sibelius may have a fight on their hands.

Sibelius blog has published a detailed review.

StaffPad is available for purchase ($69.99) at the Windows Store.