I have an ipad 2.
Primarily l bought it as a viable alternative to using my laptop. The other reason was to see if l can use it for Mass.
Does this mean the end of toxic poisoning from hours stood in front of the decrepit parish photocopier? Will l never need to cart large bags of books down to the church ever again?
We shall see….
Here’s a guide to the Apps that possibly might make a Catholic musician’s life just a little less troublesome, as test-driven at last week’s Sunday Mass.
1. LIBER PRO £8.99
I just cannot believe how brilliant this is. It is expensive for an App but this is the entire 1961 Liber Usualis and considering a brand new copy will set you back eighty quid or so…
The most fantastic feature of the Liber Pro App is the calendar. The homepage defaults to today’s date. There you will find all the music for today’s mass and the entire Liturgy of the Hours. Anyone who has to sing the Traddy hours regularly will appreciate what a headache it is to find the correct music when using the actual book.
The layout of the pages are clear; you can change the colour of the background if you find white is too bright. You can easily bookmark any individual pages and the contents page is much more detailed than the book version.The other benefit of using this App is it is lighter to hold than the actual book. Handy for those Lauda Sion moments.
I still love singing from my Liber that l inherited from my grandfather but this App really is the business. I would buy an ipad just for this.
2. iBreviary – free
Useful for Mass readings although l struggled to find the same text that was being read out during last Sunday’s Gospel. More handy for traveling Priests. You get the Missal plus Rubrics and the texts for lots of the Rites.
Perfect for saying Lauds, Vespers and Compline in English and you get the daily office of readings.
Good layout. Simple to navigate around.
You can access the downloaded pages in a wi-fi free zone. Isn’t it about time churches had wi-fi?
3. Organ +
Choirs inevitably need to sing next to the organ often just to get the pitching notes. If like me you are hopeless with a tuning fork this App is the answer. A two manual organ on your iPad. It is not very loud but that is a positive when you are trying to give starting notes or playing the first couple of bars of a piece. It has lots of stops, lots of knobs to twiddle if you want to EQ the sound. Some of the reverb settings might be deemed inappropriate for Mass but quite handy if you suddenly find you are required to play at a Doors revival gig.
4. Dropbox Free
Drop all your PDFs into the Dropbox folder on your home computer and ‘hey voila!’ there they are on your ipad. We sing a lot of stuff downloaded from Choral Wiki so that is one less photocopy to be done. I have a ‘Palm Sunday’ folder on dropbox that l have ‘dropped’ all of the sheet music into required for Sunday. I have even scanned in ‘All Glory, Laud & Honour’ so l won’t need to take the hymn book outside.
5. iBooks Free
I currently have PDFs of the Parish Book of Chant and the Gregorian Missal on this. Reads the PDFs faster than a Kindle. Lots of PDFs on the Musica Sacra site that you could save to iBooks eg. This Lent, we are working our way through Chant Abreges 1955 from the site.
6 imass HD £1.29
Watch a video of the current day’s EF Latin Mass and follow the text in English and Latin on the lower half of the screen. This App seems to be linked to the FSSP website. The mass is always filmed in the same church with the camera in the same fixed position. Could be more interesting with a few close-ups thrown in. I wonder if only women wearing Mantillas are allowed to sit in the front rows. This could be terribly useful if you are learning either to say or serve the Latin Mass. I’m afraid l just can’t see myself watching a Mass on the train home of an evening.
7. Piano Free
Out of necessity I found myself doing an entire choir practice the other night using this App and it kept crashing. Useful for notes but if you are also singing from the ipad I am not sure how quickly you can skip between Apps. Will use it for notes outside the church on Palm Sunday- let’s hope it is not raining.
8. Latin Word of the Day Free
and today’s is… ‘gladius, i – sword’
9. Magnificat Free
Still formatted only for iphone and you need wi-fi to use it. Lots of prayers for the day, Mass readings, Meditations and even ‘Blessings for the Table.’ I think it might be a bit rude to bring an ipad to the dinner table though, even in Catholic households.
10. The New Mass £1.79
This is only in iphone format at the moment but it is great. It takes you line-by-line through the new translation comparing it to the old Missal and explaining why it has changed.
Other Apps I am yet to download:
iMissal Catholic £2.99
Virtual Rosary £1.79
Confession: A Roman Catholic App. £1.19 (Has apparently been approved by the Vatican and don’t worry it’s not Virtual Confession it’s just an aid to preparation.) AMENDMENT : THIS APP HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE VATICAN. WHY DO I EVER BELIEVE ANYTHING I HEAR ON THE BBC?…
So, after using the ipad at Mass last week, one plus was I did find my bag was lighter. It was handy because I was able to refer to notes I had typed up earlier in the week for the Introit and (most importantly) I did manage to sing pretty much everything from my trusty new toy – that at least gave me a modicum of street-cred from two teenage boys in the congregation. A word of warning though – you do need to change the settings to prevent the ipad from going to sleep after a minute or so. Also make sure you have the screen locked in the vertical position otherwise it has a tendency to flip round mid-singing especially if you are arm-waving at the same time. Could be very useful in dingy conditions – pre-Gloria Easter Vigil, Candlemas, Tenebrae etc. Not sure how resilient the screen is to candle wax though. Watch this space/screen…