Avid Scorch for iPad review

With great pleasure my sore eyes this morning saw the arrival of Avid Scorch for iPad on the App Store.
Avid Scorch (formerly Sibelius Scorch) originated as a web browser plugin for watching and listening to Sibelius scores and has now extended to iOS devices.
This app is a great addition to the market and a must-have for any musician and music educator.


There is a number of PDF sheet music viewers on the platform, the most notable being ForScore. What immediately sets Scorch apart from these is the ability to actually play back the loaded score with all its instrument. Scorch does not use PDF files or any other similar format, but directly loads .sib files from Sibelius. That means that you can simply transfer any Sibelius file to your iPad and open it for viewing and playback.

When starting the app, you are presented with a very nice music shelf, populated by all the scores on your device. If there is cover artwork, Scorch will load it, otherwise generate a cover based on the file information. This is how the shelf looks like:


When tapping a score, it opens like a real piece of sheet music. Nice animation, which I could not resist to catch in the act:


Once a score is open, you can play it back with regular playback controls and jump to any place in the score with the playback slider, just like in the iPod app. You can also change pages by swiping, zoom in and out and all the other things you will expect from a sheet music viewer. You can even adjust each instrument’s volume with an easy to use mixer window. The mixer allows you to solo or mute single instruments as well as set the panorama. One extremely useful feature is the ability to change any instrument in the score. You can even change a staff from regular notation to tablature! Like in the Scorch browser plugin you can change the key signature, but on the iPad version you can change any instrument, not just the top one!


Very useful is the Music Stand mode, which gives you a full screen view of your score with easy tap to switch pages. This is intended and absolutely great for rehearsing - combined with the ability to only display one part it makes rehearsing individual parts from a complete score very easy.

Some other features include: tempo control, selectable background textures like in Sibelius, different music fonts, dynamic parts and much more.

Scorch comes with in-app access to the SibeliusMusic.com store, where you can buy thousands of scores which directly load into your library, a large number of scores is even available free of charge! You can also add your own scores via iTunes file sharing. Scorch registers the .sib file extension for its own use, so if you open a .sib file from Dropbox, iPad mail or any other application, iOS will offer you to open it in Scorch. That makes Dropbox the easiest and quickest way to get your files to Scorch.

Avid Scorch of iPad, even in its first version, is a workflow breakthrough for any musician. Finally you are able to open your Sibelius files directly without having to convert them into PDF or any other format. You get full playback of everything with the option of changing instruments. If the „big“ Sibelius is any indication, Scorch is likely to get a lot of update love - maybe we will see annotation features making Scorch a go to tool for proofreading. At the current introductory price of 4.99$ it is a great value. Check it out on the app store!

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