Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Digital Musician

Just received the newest addition to my musical tool set. An AirTurn BT-105:

I've switched from a binder full of dead trees to all iPad. I've been using it for the last couple of months and I've been very happy with the change. No more lugging the 8 inch binder full of charts around.

There's a few good apps out there for charts on iPad but the one I decided on is called Unrealbook by Aron Nelson. Its worked well for me and the features it offers are really great. Includes a few nice amenities like a metronome and a recorder. What really sets it apart for me is the annotation capabilities (different color highlighters and pens) and the integration with Dropbox.

I've been preparing for a CD release concert and I've been having some problems with the page turns while I play. Its one thing to sustain a note in a church service while you tap the screen to turn a page but when you're trying to duplicate what you did on a CD you don't always have the best charts and your turns come at the worst times it seems.

Enter the AirTurn BT-105!

The AirTurn is specifically the unit in the middle. Its a bluetooth device that presents itself as a keyboard to the iPad, has two inputs for switch pedals and a rechargeable lithium battery. The BT-105 comes with a nifty plastic base that ties the base unit together with two silent pedals.

Tapping the left pedal sends a page up key stroke to the iPad for a previous page while the right pedal gives a page down key for the next page.

After removing the BT-105 from its package and charging it up I paired it with the iPad and presto! Pages were turning as if by magic. I stood in the kitchen playing my parts on air guitar turning the pages using the pedals and it made me really excited to give this setup a try in a live setting. I'm not the most coordinated person so adding my feet into the mix might be more challenging than I'm prepared for. Even so, this looks like its going to be a handy tool to have!