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Indexing Real Books On iPad

A Music Toolbox

iPad has become a great music tool that I use daily for practicing, performing and teaching. It is especially a great mobile solution for your music – audio and video playback and streaming, scanning, recording audio, and video, pitch and speed control for music transcription, a midi controller for virtual instruments, drum loops, music notation, taking notes and more.

Music Library – Sheet Music, Scores and Music Books

iPad is a very handful tool for storing and reading music scores. It can save you a huge amount of space (and weight in your bag 🙂 by going completely paperless. Just scan your music or load your sheet music into it.

There several apps for it, like forScore, unrealBookiGigBookDeep Dish GigBook and others but the best to my opinion is probably forScore

forScore App for iPad and iPhone

I’ve been using the forScore app since I’ve bought my iPad Pro 10.5 in 2017. It is a really powerful app. Besides storing and opening PDF files with sheet music it does annotation, sharing, scanning, syncing with audio files creating bookmarks, organizing and reordering music, set lists and more. All of this works fast in a beautiful elegant interface.

forScore is been great not only for single scores and parts. You can also load Real Books and Fake Books that have hundreds of songs in one giant file. forScore version 10 adds a great feature that allows you to add indexes to large scores by uploading a CSV file that links the song titles to specific page numbers of the PDF. You can now search for a specific song and open it in seconds within a huge book.

Indexing Real Books in forScore for iOS

I have found the list of downloadable index files for apps like forScore and UnrealBook here. Just download the CSV file and open it in forScore to sync with a corresponding book. Your Real Book will become indexed with a table of contents corresponding to songs. You can search and share the specific song within the app.

Music educator Robby Burns from Columbia, Maryland has made this video on how to add index files to forScore iPad app:

More Index Files (!)

May 2020 update 

Thanks to one of my readers, Robby Laak who was looking for Bb instruments Real Books 1, 2 & 3 CVS indexes. I have searched and found them along with some other useful stuff from Adam Spiers who created and edited more than dozens of additional CSV index files here:

Colorado Book, Bill Evans Real Book, Jazz Fakebook, Jazz LTD, New Real Book I, New Real Book II, New Real Book III, Ralph Towner Kalle’s Scores, Old Real Book (5th edition): Real Book 1, 2, 3 – concert key, Real Book 1, 2, 3 – Bb key, Sher Music Standards Real Book, Vocal Real Book

Real Book 6th Edition Index File

I could not find the Real Book 6th edition index file anywhere on the internet.  So I have created it myself. Here it is for you: an CSV index file for Real Book 6th edition which has an exact match to its pages. Below I provide you with the file download.

Upload the CVS index to your iOS device and try applying the settings the way it is described in the above video. It should work fine. I did succeed to manage it after a couple of trials. The best thing that upon successful application of the CSV index file you will be able to manage your Real Book 6th edition finding and opening the songs withing seconds in forScore app. 

Download the Real Book Index file

Sign up to download

The Best iPad Score Reader For Most People

Here is a very nice and informative review on iPad score reader apps from scoringnotes.com (NYC Music Services), a post from January 10, 2019, by David MacDonald.

“We spent time with each of the main iPad score reader apps — forScoreNewziknkodaBlackbinder, and Piascore — to assess the current state of the category, and to help musicians decide which of the excellent options best suits their needs…”

forScore 11 release further refines the best-in-class iOS score reader

Another review from May 2, 2019, by David McDonald (NYC Music Services) on recent forScore version 11 update. He writes: “forScore has released forScore 11, the first major update to the iOS score reader since 2016. It’s largely an evolutionary update; current users may not notice much difference on the surface.apart from the slightly flatter icon style. However, the improvements are thoughtful, practical, and welcome. Best of all for current users, the update is free!” read it here. 

forScore App

The forScore app for iOS is an amazing tool. I use daily on my iPad for searching, viewing, annotating / editing, scanning, downloading sheet music when I am practicing, rehearsing, performing or teaching. I say “bye, bye” to music books and printed PDF scans and that I drag with me in my bag :). You will discover even more tools withing it – tuner, metronome, scanner, setlist maker, audio file player with the speed changer (good for transcribing music) end more!

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I hope that the information in this post was helpful. If you have any questions or thoughts, please write them down in the comments area.

Alec Katz

Alec is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator from Tel Aviv. He loves performing, writing, teaching and learning music. Alec has built his website and he likes writing and sharing there his thoughts musical ideas and useful content.

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