Friday, July 6, 2012

Tablets at Mass

Friday greetings to all from Chicago, where it reached 102 degrees yesterday. Today's forecast is for 103. Seems there are people who are just riding the trains to keep cool. Lots of folks just sleeping away on Chicago's "El" this morning.

Each year, we at WLP provide electronic surveys to those parishes that subscribe to Seasonal Missalette, Word and Song, We Celebrate, and Celebremos/Let Us Celebrate. One question we asked this year was this: "Do you currently download sheet music to a tablet PC (such as an iPad) to read or play music during liturgies?" 4.6% of the Seasonal Missalette respondents replied "yes," as did 11.1% for We Celebrate usersm 3.2% for Word and Song, and 6.7% for Celebremos/Let Us Celebrate.

I urged our team to track the answers to this same question over the next several years. This past Sunday, the visiting priest at my parish used a tablet device from which he read notes for his homily; first time I have experienced that. Technology advances so quickly; I have a feeling these numbers are going to climb quite rapidly in the next few years.

Anybody out there regularly using a tablet to read music at Mass?

Hoping you all have a weekend full of fun and COOL activities!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Christian Cosas said...

I do, Jerry! My iPad—using the apps ForScore and GigBook, "in alternatim"—has proven to be one of the best purchases I've made in a long time. No more lugging six books to weddings and funerals that are off-site! (Although, I do still have to bring at least three for those tunes that haven't been made available yet as PDFs.)

I think it's fantastic that WLP has been leading the charge among the big three to digitize its library. I also think one of the most daring, forward-thinking moves the three major Catholic publishers might make would be to make an entire hymnal accompaniment (or the equivalent of, say, OCP's accompaniment "phone books") available as a PDF. Of course, there will be issues with pirating, but I think GIA found an interesting solution to that by creating their own proprietary iPad Hymnal app. No accompaniments there yet, but if and when it happens, it'll change from a mere novelty to a real killer app for pastoral musicians like me.

David Bonofiglio said...

I chant the Good Friday intercessions from my iPad each year. Much easier than lugging up a huge binder.

I have not often played from my iPad at Mass but as soon as a publisher makes it possible in a convenient way, I'll gladly pay the equivalent cost of a accompaniment book for the ability to use my iPad.

My only concern would be when I use music from more than one publisher at Mass. Would some sort of collaboration between Cathoic publishers be possible to digitize everything in one place?

Marc Cerisier said...

I love that the Canadians offer their accompaniment books only as PDFs. The French also do that. I've never really had much trouble finding the accompaniment PDFs for French Catholic music online also... I think there's some benefit from letting things free to spread and prosper.

Mary said...

I'd be worried about what would happen if something went wrong: what if you drop the iPad - or a kid knocks the music stand over - and it breaks just before you're due to play something complicated that you don't have a hard copy of?

Church services are one of the most challenging places for musicians, I think: it's a "live to air" environment, involving other people who aren't going to be sympathetic if you're not ready to play the right thing at the right time. So I wouldn't be happy to rely on an electronic device during a service.

But for research and practices, I can very large benefits.

L.Lynch said...

The HS I teach at (Carmel Catholic) just switched all the students to a tablet. I'd LOVE to find out an easy AND legal way to have them access a music library to use for liturgies. My initial thought is to create a pdf library of songs and have the students copy them on their ThinkPads. I've purchased enough hard copies of everything, but wonder if there's an easier "cloud subscription" service that WLP could begin so my students could have even more songs to access.

Thoughts or ideas anyone??

Jennifer Odegard said...

Hi, L. Lynch. My name is Jennifer Odegard and I am the Director of Marketing at WLP. In terms of WLP-copyrighted music, we do offer PDF editions of most of our choral music and many, many lead sheets. We call them “Click & Print Editions” and you can search for titles available in this format here or you can search by title in the general search box at the top of the page. These PDFs work really well on an iPad or tablet, without the need for a separate app (though I understand that they also work with apps like ForScore as well). We do not offer a “cloud-based” service at this time, but maybe someday. Copyright law is complicated, so if you (or anyone reading this) have questions about legally making digital copies of WLP items you have purchased in a hard-copy, printed format, your best bet is to contact our rights and permissions department at Thanks!