The musician and the iPad part 2

Posted by Alistair Parnell Category: IOS

More on the ways I use the iPad as a musician.

Hopefully you’ve read Part 1, so what else can you do with the iPad as a musician?

Well if you dabble in a bit of jazz how about a limitless supply of chord charts? Have a look at IReal b..

A 21st century real book.

Ever tried carrying around a couple of real books? How about real books in all keys just in case? With iReal b you have as many charts as you wish. A couple of clicks and the whole chart is transposed into whatever key you would like. You can edit a chart or start from scratch with your own. Ok, so next you want a way of practicing with a Band in the Box style computer program, so you’ll need a PC and all the extra cost and hassle. Not with iReal b. It has a built in Band in the Box style program with complete flexility of tempo, key, instruments and style. The quality is fine for working on charts but I’d say not for gigging with. You can have it set to highlight the current bar as you play along and you can set a section to repeat for intense workout on a specific section. You can search to find any chart within seconds, and if you should want to use the old fashioned way you can print from the app. Some of this functionality does cost a few pounds more after you’ve bought the app, but you really have to see it to believe it. All those Jamey Asbersold albums I bought! As a pianist accompanying jazz lessons its brilliant and as a tool for practicing jazz there is nothing better.

Even if you don’t use this app to read from, the Band in a Box style part of this app is worth the asking price alone.

The original app was called iReal Book but due to some copyright issues things had to change. Unfortunately the original library that came with the app of 500+ charts is no longer part of the purchase. I got mine before the change. But don’t despair, there is a fantastic online forum accessible directly from the app of freely downloadable charts so you’ll soon be up and running. How about 1200 to get started on.

That’s the equivalent of 120 playalong books worth which would cost over £2000.

You can even get iReal b for the iPhone with all the same functionality.

What if I need the melody line to a jazz standard?

Well there are apps that will help. The iGigbook seems to be the front runner. I’ve not had this long and I must admit I have had teething troubles but this app has indexes of some 40 or so real books. You will still need to scan your real books or get hold of a copy in PDF format but there is a little help with this on their website. If you are lucky you can have all those real books in a searchable format. Type in ‘Misty’ and up come all the links to the books and the pages with Misty on. I’ve found it doesn’t work quite as you’d want all the time but if you can get it sorted in the set up menu it could be very useful.

forScore, iGigbook and iReal b – Are you beginning to see the light?

Incidentally these blog posts are being written on the iPad including all the screenshots, links and formatting.


ISax – Alistair Parnell