Noting the Future of Music with Digital Ink (Bett Show 2016 Preview)

Published: 18th January 2016


This week, MyScript will demonstrate solutions for Education technology OEMs, developers, content and service providers at Bett Show in London (stand B87). Bett Show is the world’s largest education technology event and attracts over 35,000 visitors.

At Bett Show, MyScript will demonstrate how its interactive digital ink capabilities transcend handwritten text recognition to encompass equations, shapes, diagrams, musical notation, and other natural handwritten input. Never before has digital ink been this versatile and powerful. MyScript will demonstrate how this next generation technology can enhance the education experience for students and teachers.

In stand B87, MyScript will also feature a partner demonstration by PreSonus® Notion® for iOS, an app that takes music creation and education to the next level. Thanks to the integration of MyScript technology, iPad users can write music with a finger or stylus and see it effortlessly convert to digital notation.


Using an Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro, users can write with pressure and thickness, which provides a more natural feeling and even greater accuracy. Up to 100+ music elements such as notes, clefs, bars, chords, time signatures, and more can be written and recognized. 

To learn more about Notion’s partnership with MyScript and the impact digital ink has on the future of music, we spoke with Chris Swaffer, Product Manager, Notion at PreSonus Audio Electronics.

Can you tell us a little bit about the story behind PreSonus and  the Notion composition app in particular?

Notion combines notation, sequencing, and live performance tools into one creative environment. Its sound library was recorded in London at the famous Abbey Road studios with the London Symphony Orchestra, and since then, we’ve released five major desktop versions for Mac and Windows.

In 2011, we launched Notion for iPad and added iPhone support in 2015. In 2013, Notion was acquired by PreSonus Audio Electronics, a leading manufacturer of recording and live-sound software and hardware, and we are now part of the team that creates the award winning DAW, Studio One. We’ve been featured by Apple in a number of their iPad campaigns, whether in store or as part of the 2014 YourVerse TV campaign for the iPad Air, and most recently as an “Amazing App for iPad Pro” in the App Store. Notion has been widely adopted by professionals, amateur musicians, and schools.  In fact, Notion was recently nominated for “Best Music Education Product” by the 2016 UK Music Teacher Awards.

Why did you choose to incorporate MyScript technology into the Notion app?

We chose MyScript because we wanted to avoid requiring a learning curve for the user. Other solutions require having to ‘teach’ the software your own handwriting, or having to learn a series of custom gestures. With MyScript, that all has been done and it comes built in – the user just writes music, however they want and however poor their handwriting is (to a point!).

What are some of the benefits of working with MyScript technology from a business standpoint (i.e. ease of use, cost effectiveness, etc.)?

On the business side, we needed a flexible partner that could take the time to understand our particular (and often peculiar!) market and come up with an appropriate solution. MyScript took the time to understand us and our requirements and our vision of how handwriting could be used in our products. It was also important to us that MyScript was an established and leading provider of recognition solutions, so we can rely on their support going forward as we continue to develop Notion. We are really thrilled to be a partner of MyScript at this year’s Bett Show and look forward to seeing teachers getting truly “hands-on” with Notion for iPad!

Several studies have shown that students better retain information through handwritten notes as opposed to typing. Do you think music students better understand what they’re learning by writing composition, as opposed to typing it digitally?

It’s crucial in composition to think about the sound you want and how it should be played when you’re writing a note – to some extent, Notion already encouraged this more than other score-writers with its responsive sounds. However, the act of handwriting engages other tactile areas of the brain that really helps this connection and aids creativity. Of course, handwriting is slower than digital or MIDI input – we invented notation software for a good reason! But Notion now has a solution that combines the convenience of digital notation with the elegance and feel of handwriting. This is especially true when using Notion on the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. Even though ultimately the actual handwriting is converted to digital notation, having the variable thickness of the lines through the pressure of the pencil as you draw really makes for a haptic and satisfying creative experience.

Learn more

At Bett Show, be sure to visit stand B87 to learn about MyScript solutions for education and for a hands-on Notion demonstration.

Leveraging MyScript Music, developers can create powerful music composition and notation programs, education software, games, or enhance their existing applications for inputting, editing and printing music. Click here to learn more.

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