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Bookmarks at any position in the score
#1
Hi all,

First of all: Sorry for my bad English - but my native language is Swiss-German and I'm only using English due to Software Engineering, which is my other passion (besides playing the organ).

I'm using MobielSheetsPro since a few weeks using an Android Tablet (Samsung Tab S7+).
I'm playing the classical organ (with pedal keyboard) and recently also bought a bluetooth pedal to turn pages.

Until now I scanned my score to pdf-files by using the Adobe Scan app, which actually works very well for me.

What I soon learned after going digital with my score was that the small area of a tablet compared to real paper score needs some tricks with page turning:
Since one needs to turn pages much more often than with paper score, it must go very smoothly and should not impede playing. This is actually possible with a foot pedal (even when playnig organ) - but one only can turn pages at positions in the score ,where the  feet have not to play difficult parts...

Additionally, I realized with digial score it is possible to turn pages in an overlapping way, i.e the score line, on which the page has been turned, is moving from the bottom or so of the screen to the top. This is actually a big advantage compared to physical paper score, since the jump of visual focus is much smaller, than if you immediately need to see and play a new page, which has been invisible before.

I also soon realized that for my needs, it is better not stick to the pysical pages of a score. For me, the score of any piece of music is just a sequence of score lines and I can advance through the sequence of lines by pressing the pedal at specific positions in the score, so I'm totally independent of the actual physcial pages.

There are two features in MobileSheets, which I can use for this way of playing along the score:
The 'links' and the 'bookmarks'.

First I have been using the link feature, because you can place links anywhere and assign the following "pedal-actions" to your foot pedals: 'Move to previous link' for the left pedal and 'Move to next link' for the right pedal.

But what I sooon learned: Links are really sub-optimal for my needs.
1. You can not exactly predict which part of the score will be at the top of the page when pressnig the pedal, because the link point is not exactly positionned in the upper left corner.
2. There is a limit of 10 link pairs (which is not enough for me).
3. The pair-wise usage of points is very tedious.
4. You can not change the position of an existing link point (which is sometimes necessary especially because of 1.)

I then searched, which other options I would have and found the "bookmark" feature the only other way to do this.
The only disadvantage is that bookmarks can only be set per page and it is not possible to place multiple bookmarks per page.

So I used Adobe Scan to create one page per score line, which unfortunately needs much more time than a normal scan.
This means that I can use the bookmark feature for my needs, but the preparation of the digital score needs much more time, since in "Adobe Scan", you have to define the clipping of each score line.

That said, I would like to have an new feature in MobileSheets, which is currently not existing to my knowledge:

It should be possible to set a new type of Bookmarks (lets just call them Marks), along the sequence of score lines.
Normally the Marks would be set at the upper left corner of any score line, slightly higher than the top most note in the upper staff.
It should be possible to add an unlimited number of those Marks to a score file.
When pressing the right pedal button (or when tapping the right border of the screen) the next mark would be placed at the top left corner of the screen.
When pressing the left pedal button (or when tapping the left border of the screen) the previous mark would be placed at the top left corner of the screen.

I think that such a feature would greatly improve the value of the MobileSheets software, because page turing is the most critical element of digital score usage compared to physical score. And I think that the pain of the frequent need of page turning due to small screen size is one of the main reasons why most people still stick to physical score.
So the planning and organization of page-turning-places in the score (which I mark with blue dots) together with the corresponding set of "Mark" points is crucial to digital score playing for me.

In the attachment you see the first three screens of a piece, which I'm currently practicing (BWV 537) by using the bookmark feature. The black bars are due to gaps between pdf pages (it would be nice to make the gap size configurable). The blue points are marks to know, where I need to press the foot-switch.

I'm sorry for the lenghty text and hope to get some answer at some time in the future  Smile

Best Regards,
Ameiossi


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#2
Hello Ameiossi,

Other users have asked for more control over the exact scroll positions, so adding a feature similar to what you have mentioned is certainly on my list. In the meantime, let me ask a few things:

1) Are you using the vertical scrolling display mode? I'm assuming so, but I just want to verify.
2) If you are using the vertical scrolling display mode, activating link points should scroll those link points into view, and I believe the code should scroll them near the top of the screen. Is this not the case? I will need to do some tests to refresh my memory.
3) If you use the page order feature to repeat pages, you should never need to jump backward for repeats. This lets you always jump forward with link points. Have you utilized this at all, or is it not necessary with your scores?

I also plan on adding support for more link points. This was brought in another thread very recently: https://zubersoft.com/mobilesheets/forum...p?tid=3481

The main purpose of link points is really for triggering with a finger to jump from one location to another. With your use case scenario, I agree that what you really want is something different that lets you jump from your current position in the screen (whatever that might happen to be) to the next assigned marker in the list. 

On a side note, if you are using the vertical scrolling display mode, you can have the score automatically scroll, and start/stop automatic scrolling as needed with the pedal. This is what many users utilize. This decouples you from page turning, and really lets you focus just on scrolling through the score as needed. It seems to me that this may eliminate the need for markers altogether, especially if you also utilize cropping and the page order feature to ensure you can just scroll continuously through the song. Let me know your thoughts on this.

Thanks,
Mike
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#3
Hi Mike,

Thanks a lot for your reply.
I have to admit, the use of MobileSheets for me is maybe not standard, because there are not many instruments, where the feet also need to play besides both hands :-), meaning that there are normally only very rare moments during playing, where you can scroll up your score (I intentionally do not call it 'turn pages') - and one needs to carfully select the moments (i.e. the position in the score) where one can press the button or touch the screen.

But first to your questions:
1: Yes I'm using the vertical scrolling display mode, because this comes nearest to my idea that in digital score readers, one should try to detach from physical score pages if possible, because in this way you have not the hard cuts when turning pages (you can do overlapping page turns or 'scrolls').

2: Your are right, I also can use link points for my way of scrolling through the music (which is done mainly by pressing the foot switch of a bluetooth pedal).
The good thing about using the link points is that I am not urged to create one pdf page per score line (as you see in the screenshots), instead I can use the entire original scan pages and place multiple link points per page and jump from link point to link point by pressing the foot switch.
The problem with this technique (using link points) is that they are more difficult to handle than bookmarks, because if one does a mistake with setting one of them, one has to delete the whole pair, then add a new pair and move both points to the right position again. The biggest issue, which I have with them is that when activating the next link point, it is scrolled near to the top of the screen (as you also noted) but not exactly to the top, so you have somehow to take this gap into account when placing the points - and if the placement was not good (e.g. because the score line might be cropped beyond the top border of the screen), you need to do the removal and re-adding maneuver.

3: Yes, currently I do not have repeats in the score but that might come in the future, when I scan pieces containing repeats.

For me, the application work fine when I just use one pdf page per score-line and then use bookmarks for stepping through the piece of music (together with drawn markings (the blue dots in the screenshots), to indicate where I have to press the footswitch). But the problem is that I need quite some time to prepare a scan in this way by currently using Adobe Scan, because this App is also not optimized for this.
And an other (yet small) shortcoming are the black gaps between pdf-pages (see screenshots in previous post), which are a little too wide for me (i.e waste of precious space of the small tablet screen).

But for sure I also will try the trick with automatic scrolling as you mentioned.

What I like about the idea of the proposed "Marks" (described in the previous mail) is that they actually would behave like bookmarks (sequentially) but you can precisely place them anywhere in the score and you only need to press the pedal switch once, to jump to the next mark (the same as with bookmarks) - of course it would be good to have them somehow editable, in case of misplacement.

Thanks again and Best Regards,
Ameiossi
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#4
Hi Ameiossi,

There is a different, simple approach available in MobileSheets that might be useful to you. Have you tried Alternate Page Turning mode? It presumes that you would be comfortable reading two pages side by side in landscape mode. In this mode, while you are reading the page on the right, a page turn displays the next page on the left side, and the next turn displays the following page on the right side.

The point is that as long as there is at least one moment on a page where your foot is not busy, you could use a foot pedal to turn the page (show the next page on the other side) at any convenient time within the page you are currently playing. And the jump of visual focus is the same as when turning physical pages. There are also the advantages of not having to time a sudden turn at the bottom of a page, and also being able to always see forward and backward context in the score.

This works fine for me on my Onyx Max 2 Pro 13.3" screen. There is an additional feature that I think would further enhance the use of this function, which Mike has not had time to implement yet but is on his list. A discussion about this is in this forum is at:

https://zubersoft.com/mobilesheets/forum...rnate+page

If your scores would be too small in side-by-side mode on your tablet, I believe it would be possible to use a master - slave setup in MobileSheets to provide this functionality between two separate tablets in Portrait mode.
Mike G.
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#5
Hi Mike G.,
Thanks for your suggestion - such an alternate page turing as you mention it, is really a good idea, espcecially due to its egonimics and minimization of visual jumps.
Actually, I was not aware of it until now.
The problem is that the organ score pages are normally in landscape orientation and the score lines are therefore very long (see initial screenshots of the Galaxy tablet screen). So, the score would be too small if one wanted to dislay too pages side by side on a small tablet screen.
But the possibility of using two screens side by side could solve this problem of course - and would be the only options for me, as long as there are no really big tablets or convertibles  ( > 20'') on the market. Unfortunately, my tablet was not the cheapest (and somehow I would like to buy the same model twice fort this task (not too different models)).

Do you know, whether this alternate page turning is also working in top-bottom mode instead of left right (maybe this would also be an option for me, if I were using a very big convertible laptop).

Best Regards, Ameiossi
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#6
Of course, I'm used to piano music and forgot about those wide organ scores. Yes, the equivalent to horizontal Alternate Page turning is Half Page display mode with Landscape orientation. As I discussed in the "Alternate Page ambiguity" thread in this forum, I see (top-to-bottom) Half Page mode as perfectly analogous to side-by-side pages with Alternate Page turns:
 
"In Half Page display mode when all of a page is showing and a page turn occurs, the top half of the next page is displayed above the bottom half of the current page. These two half pages are separated by a horizontal bar. The next page turn displays all of the next page and the separation bar disappears. This bar serves as a clear indicator when the page halves are out of sequence and another turn is needed to see the remainder of the page".
 
I don't use this, but I think Mike may have added some refinements in MobileSheets where you can somehow indicate the exact position on the page where the split should be. I think the horizontal bar is very helpful because otherwise it is easy to forget whether the page halves are in or out of sequence (whether you have already turned the page). This especially true when you need to select a (different) good location on each page to trigger the turn.
 
This is like what I was requesting (in that other thread I referenced) for horizontal Alternate Page turns: a vertical bar to indicate when the horizontal pages are out of sequence. So to complete the analogy, when you see the bar --- if you're playing the right side (or bottom half) you know you've already turned the page; and if you're are playing the left side (or top half) you need to turn again to move forward.

Thanks for the feedback feedback Undecided ,
Mike G.
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#7
Hi Mike G.,

Thanks for your reply.
I tried the "Half Page display mode" and it would be indeed at good alternative to my current way of organizing "page turns".

And it is right, that it would be very helpful, to define the position of the black bar (i.e. where the page is split). The reason is that in organ music normally there are three staves to play (right hand, left hand and peal), so sometimes on one physical page of music there is only enough space for three "grand staffs" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staff_(music)), that means, if this page is split in the middle, it is split exactly across the middle "grand staff", which therefore cannot be played anymore. But also if there is an even number of grand staffs, mostly one of them is partly cut and therefore cannot be read very well  anymore.

However, I think currently it is not possible to set the split point (at least I did not find this option) and it would be necessary to set this split position per page.

But as I mentioned, I'm currently happy to organize the page scrolling or turning using the bookmarks. The only disadvantage is the need to create those many pdf pages (one per grand staff), which can be easily more than 20 to 30 in a long piece of music.
But still the time needed to prepare such a scan is still a small fraction compared to the time, which is needed to practice it. So I actually have no problems with it.
It even prevents me to jump from song to song (due to IMSLP) and only playing at sight instead of really studying a piece.

I think that's the good thing about MobileSheets: It has so many options, that nearly everybody can find a way, which is suited best to his needs.

Best Regards, Ameiossi.
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#8
Hi Ameiossi,

What you are saying makes sense, and vertical scrolling is a good solution, so I decided to let it be. But now I'm thinking it could be useful for me to sometimes use Half Page mode to see the score in full size and have alternate half page turning. When I remembered something about setting the split position in MobileSheets it was only for Single Page display mode in Landscape with both "Display half page in landscape" and "Half-page turns in landscape mode" options checked. With this, the page size is doubled and there's an icon to set the half page turn position for each page. 

But what you would want for viewing wide organ scores is Half Page display mode in Landscape. Searching for "half page" in forum search (even titles only) there are several discussions requesting the ability to specify the vertical position where the half page turn will occur for each page. Mike writes that this is on his to-do list for after the IOS work.

So until that is implemented, a workaround would be to use the Files tab in the song editor to crop pages that do not already have a wide enough blank path across the center (causing the half page bar to obscure content). Click the [] icon at the bottom right of the preview area so that you can drag the grabber icons. Moving the top or bottom icon down will raise a blank area up towards the center, and vice versa for dragging the icons up. You can use the side grabbers as a guide to the page vertical center.

This might let you arrange for clean half page turns in many cases, depending on the score layout and margins.  Otherwise, since you cannot resize pages or move content around in MobileSheets, you can always prepare the file pages outside of the program. For any pages that have content that the black bar would cover, I can use MSPaint on Windows to easily move grand staffs up or down, or to enlarge a page beyond screen size (if I want some empty space above or below for shifting staffs). We want the strip along the vertical center of each page to have no content. You might also combine a page with a single grand staff or with a lot of empty space with an adjacent page to eliminate excess turns. 

Then create and import a new pdf with pages adjusted for half page turning. At least it would allow fewer page turns. Also, I find it convenient to use the page order feature for repeats (to an earlier page) and jumps in order to always be moving forward. For this I crop out the areas that shouldn't be replayed or erase or lighten them using annotations. I hope all this makes some sense.

I can relate to the IMSLP-fueled temptation of sight reading through lots of songs and balancing that with the effort and satisfaction of refining an individual piece. By the way, the screens you attached are from the Bach Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542 (not 537). Here's a fun performance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUOQ4tbc5RI

Mike G.
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#9
Hi Mike G.,

Your are right. It is BWV 542... But somehow those numbers are not that intuitive and I tend to mix them up.
Funny performance indeed - the good thing is that human voices are much more adaptive to the perfect tuning than organ pipes, which produces a very interesting performance.

As you mentioned, another good option to solve my "problem" of finding the prefect page-turning procedure is to crop the content either in MobileSheets or in an external program.

Currently I'm using the "external program" option (but I will give it a try directly in MobileSheets). I recently found a free opensource tool, which can be used to crop a pdf to a sequence of any new pages (if necessary even one per grand-staff):
https://sourceforge.net/projects/briss/
Until now it worked very well and I already optimized a few pdf's for my needs in mobilsheets:

My recipe now is the following:
1. Scan a piece of music to PDF using my smartphone and the free Adobe Scan app. Or download it from IMSLP.
2. Load the PDF to the PC (my intermediate storage for that is Google Drive, where I keep everything related to a piece of music in a specific folder (raw scan (i.e. jpg's), original pdf and cropped pdf).
3. Crop the PDF using the software mentioned above (Briss).
I do the cropping while I check the original PDF on MobileSheets in vertical scroll mode, to see where I need to press the bluetooth pedal for scrolling the score up to the top of screen. This gives me the top of a new page.
4. Save the new cropped PDF to Google Drive.
5. Import it to MobielSheets (cool that this is possible directly from the cloud) and test, whether the score is split up correctly (to single pages) and set the bookmarks (Normally one per page).

Best Regards, Armel
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#10
Briss is a good app. But I recommend the cropping in MSP since it doesn't change the source file, so it's reversible and you can always adapt from within MSP (and also use the scanned originals directly in MSP).


But if you need cropped pages in other apps as well then of course you have to stick to your workflow.
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#11
Tanks a lot for all of your replies and hints.

As you suggested, I now use the page ordering feature together with the cropping feature directly in MSP.
After having tested it a while on large pdfs (original is not copped, just page per page), I see that it works very well and is the most straightforward workflow for my needs.
I do not even need the bookmarks anymore, since I crop the pages to my needs.

The trick is mostly that in the page ordering setting, one can repeat a page multiple times and each time give it a different crop area.
So, for example I have a pdf with 4 pages and each page contains 8 grand-staffs. I need to scroll to top of screen after every second grand-staff (using the vertical scroll mode).
To achieve this, I use a page ordering of "1,1,1,1,2,2,2,2,3,3,3,3,4,4,4,4" and for each virtual page I select a different cropping (i.e. the next two grand-staffs).

This gives me a song with a number of 16 virtual pages (the top of those are actually the positions of the "Marks", which I suggested as a new feature initially in this thread).

I just wonder, how the software behaves, if I do annotations on a song prepared like that and then lateron change the cropping (because I might have bought a new device with a larger screen, where scrolling can be done less frequent...) - I will check this out soon... 

Best Regards, Ameiossi
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#12
The annotations are saved in raw document coordinates, so even if you change the cropping, they will maintain the correct position on the page. If you crop out the part of the page where the annotation is, the annotation will no longer be visible in MobileSheets.

Mike
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#13
Thanks a lot Mike,
I already used re-cropping. It's really much more flexible and straightforward than doing it outside of MSP...
The next thing, I'm looking forward to, is the new version 3.
-- Ameiossi
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