Scanning sheet music used to be a tedious and time-consuming task requiring equipment that was, more often than not, costly and bulky.
New technology has enabled us to scan sheet music on the fly and in high quality, at the simple push of a button on our smartphone or tablet.
Not too long ago, we wrote an article comparing the best scanning apps (for both iOS and Android) available on the market. Whilst these apps work very well and are used by many to scan paper to PDF files, we wanted here to showcase the scanning capabilities of the Newzik app, since it offers tools designed specifically for musicians.
Before we delve into this topic, here is an article that will help you understand the technical specificities behind scanning sheet music.
Now, let’s have a look at the practical side of things and discover how to make full use of the Newzik tools!
Fast and Efficient Scanning
Our built-in scanner allows you to scan sheet music straight into Newzik, using your iPhone’s or iPad’s camera.
To scan a document, click on “Scan” in the Import tab, position you document in view and press the shutter-release button (in “Auto” mode, the picture will be taken automatically, but we generally find the manual mode more convenient to avoid unwanted scans being taken).
The sides of the page will be detected automatically, and you can drag the corners to adjust. Then, click on “Keep Scan” and repeat the process to add more pages. Once you are done scanning, click on “Save”.
To learn more about these technical aspects, please have a look at our dedicated user guide article.
A Multi-Level File Organization
Once you scan has been saved, you can edit your Piece’s details (title and composer), add it to your Newzik Library or, better yet, organize it in a private folder (Setlist) or a collaborative one (Project). To go even further, Newzik allows you to sort the different individual parts or versions of the same work inside a subfolder. Your whole library will be accessible from any device or computer, since it is saved up on our server. An organization designed for the needs of musicians!
Of course, the system allows you to export your files as a PDF and to send it by mail or other sharing means, as well as to share it directly with other Newzik users.
Basic and Advanced File Edition
We are well aware that a scan is rarely perfect. The scanned sheet music will indeed often need to be edited a little in order to make it fully usable.
Directly in Newzik, you will be able to:
- Add, move or delete pages
- Rotate pages
- Crop pages
- Change the background color to sepia
Above all, you will have the ability to make even finer edits using our annotation toolbar. This will enable you to:
- Clean up the music using the white pen
- Add symbols or text
- Add hand-drawn annotations
Tips for Better Scanning
If you use an iPad or an iPhone, you will have to be mindful of a couple of best practices:
Hold your device straight and as close to the page as possible.
If you are not short on time, in the middle of a rehearsal or in front of impatient students, the best practice is to have your device rest on a stable support so that your scanning is always consistent and steady. This will ensure that the same level of zoom will be applied to all your pages, for a homogenous end result.
This support can be a hefty dictionary, or even a laundry rack!
Of course, there are also alternatives that are a tad more…professional. Here are some examples:
Have your sheet music lie on a plane and dark surface
This will prevent shadows and warped staves, and therefore time spent editing the PDF afterwards. Having a stable support will allow your device to detect the page and capture it more easily, saving you some precious time. Choosing a dark surface will make it easier for the built-in scan to identify the sides of the page, thanks to the increased contrast.
However, it will be difficult to use the automatic scan function with double pages, because of the lack of contrast between the two pages. In that case, choose the manual mode.
Choose a bright space
If the lighting is rather dark, do not forget to activate the flash. And by the way, remember to clean your device’s camera lens for a clear result.
Below are some examples of end results after scanning sheet music through Newzik. We tried to take into account some everyday use cases. From A3 to A5 formatting, with used and annotated music, etc.
Newzik’s built-in scanning tool was designed for the needs of musicians, since it takes into account the whole lifecycle of the music: from the scanning process to the musical performance. This feature is accessible for free in the Newzik app, but is limited to the creation, organization and edition of 15 files maximum. Beyond that, a subscription costing $2.99 per month or $19.99 per year will unlock this limitation.
This tool is a great solution to scan sheet music, covering many needs. However, in some cases of heavy use (such as a music library wishing to scan their whole collection), investment in specialized equipment remains the best option.