When I was doing some research around the prelude in C major from the first Well Tempered Clavier, I came across a reference to Anna Magdalena’s Notebook. It’s a collection of music which JS Bach put together for his wife and it includes the prelude in C major.

I liked the idea, and also I own some of these things:

More baby sketchbookd
They are around A6 sized. Small. Anyway.

There are lots of clips of pieces of music which I like – parts of Tchaikovsky’s 2nd piano concerto, for example, elements of the piano parts of Rachmaninoff’s Sonata for Cello and Piano (I really want to include mention of the piano because it isn’t merely a backdrop to the stringed instrument here) and there is an extraordinary opening for one of the Schuman violin sonatas which I came across in a very old clip of Helene Grimaud:

A very young Helene Grimaud working on Schumann

I like the idea of a notebook full of extracts I like, and might even try to learn if they don’t try to injure me (looking at you, Sergey). But I thought the A6 notebooks were a little too small for that (I fancy being the type of person who has a notebook to sketch out compositional ideas while waiting for dinner to be served which is why I have the A6 notebooks). So I got this.

Music sketchbook A4
A4 Henle Notes sketchbook for music.

Sheet music acquisitions

Latest purchases
More Brahms and lots more Rachmaninoff

I wanted to get some plastic covers for my Henle music that I carry to acoustic piano practice, and also, I wanted non-tearable manuscript notebooks.

On the sheet music, every time I buy some, I think that’s the end. Most of the Rachmaninoff that I own is published by Boosey & Hawkes and I couldn’t get everything I wanted in London a couple of months ago. I was also experimenting with Prelude in G minor the other day (perhaps not the greatest idea) and I realised I didn’t much like the quality of the paper I was working from. I never thought I was so picky. I could see Henle had an edition of it so I decided I wanted that. I’ve been increasingly. Elegie and chunks of Etudes Tableaux are on my to be learned at some point in the future when I don’t hurt myself trying to do this, and I wanted the 117 intermezzi as well. I have one or two of them in the Brahms piano book (I should probably do some reviews. Score happy me.

Of course I should do this electronically, space and all that.

Apps for the piano playing iPad owner

One of the most useful and also, most frustrating, aspects of modern life is the absolute proliferation of tools that don’t quite do what you are looking for. But from day one, one of the truly promising things about tablets or iPads was the potential for digital tools to support music. I didn’t get with it all that quickly but I want to touch on some of the the apps I use and comment on why I made some decisions for now.

For sheet music, I use two apps. I use the Henle Digital Library, and I use forScore. I use Henle because they sell me the music that I want, digitally, and it’s mine. I also have a vast (for me) collection of their blue Urtext editions and the third album of classical music that I bought was a Henle edition of the Chopin etudes. I haven’t learned much from it, but I love it. The application is great, it has all their music and so far, I haven’t any complaints about using it. It’s just, it has Henle music and only Henle music. If you look at my piece on going back to the exam world, you’ll see some music which is not on the Henle library, namely Indigo Moon by Elissa Milne and Autumn Leaves by Vladimir Rebikov. Indigo Moon I downloaded from Stretta Music for a small some of money and my local sheet music shop ordered the Rebikov for me.

In theory I can move any of the Henle purchases to forScore but I don’t see the point. Any other music I have (some by Olafur Arnalds and the odd thing I pulled from the IMSLP) I put into forScore. Already, this is tidier than Apple Books even though in theory, you know, all I need is a pdf reader. Both apps allow annotation, with the Apple pencil and both of them have the hellscape that is a Metronome Nagging Machine integrated.

The other app I use mainly for practice journaling is Andante. I like that this does stuff I cannot get a project app to do in terms of tracking and measuring time, dropping brief notes about the session, a larger practice journal which I don’t tend to use much because in theory, that’s what this blog is about. I find it handier to use my phone for this but I paid for the app (there is a free version) which means it syncs up with the iPad it’s installed on. I’m especially interested in tracking that to see how much work it takes me to get the Bach invention that I am supposed to be working on up to reasonable scratch. I started other pieces before I started using Andante.