This is my review for the SongBookPro digital songbook app; I started using this app in the summer of 2020 to replace the massive unorganized pile of paper song sheets that used to sit by my piano – it’s awesome! (And it’s not just for piano; this app is great for any instrument, and includes chord diagrams for guitar or ukulele if that’s your thing!)
What Is SongBookPro?
SongBookPro is an app that organizes your chord charts, lyrics and sheet music collection into one place. You can use the app to:
- import sheet music from pdf files
- import chord charts & lyrics from various online databases like Ultimate Guitar
- display chord diagrams for guitar or ukulele (no piano – I’m hoping this is coming . . .)
- easily edit your song to add liner notes, hi-lite areas, draw on areas
- define the BPM, tempo and duration of songs to allow the app to scroll / page turn at an accurate rate with you while you play along
- organize your songs into “sets” for a performance, or just as a way to organize your music however you like
- transpose songs / chord charts into other keys
- toggle between chords and “lyric only” modes if you don’t need the chords anymore
- use a built in metronome that matches your song BPM; you can configure the metronome to use an audio and (OR) a visual flashing indicator
- toggle between “light” and “dark” modes (if you are performing in a dark room and don’t want a lot of light coming from your device)
- you can share your SongBook data between your devices using your OneDrive, Dropbox or Google Drive accounts
- configure your bluetooth foot pedals (such as Airturn pedals) to work with the app for controlling page turns of your sheet music
What Platforms Are Available?
- Windows 10
- Amazon Fire
How Does It Work?
While you can add songs by scanning in PDFs of sheet music or chord charts/lyrics, I think the super cool use for this app is if you’re playing modern songs with a chord-based approach. You can import lyrics and chords from sites like Ultimate Guitar, choose to transpose the song if you like, and then you can edit the song itself! You can add liner notes, hi-lites, all sorts of really useful options. And then if you’ve defined the tempo in BPM and the song duration, you can have the song scroll for you at the correct speed.
Then, you can organize your library into set lists, configure bluetooth page turning pedals, use a metronome, switch to a lyric only mode (for when you memorize those chords!), all sorts of very useful stuff. You can also share your library between your devices with an online storage account.
I thought the best way to demonstrate how to use the app was to do a narrated screen capture that goes through the steps of importing a song and working with it, so I’ve linked below to my YouTube review.
How Much Does It Cost?
I bought the iOS app in the summer of July 2020 and it was extremely affordable – under $10 CDN! And the best thing is it is a one time fee, so no recurring costs that go forever, and no ads either. This app is totally worth picking up (and remember you can test it out first to see if you like it; you’re just limited to the number of songs you can have in your library so it’s no risk).
The Verdict – SongBookPro Digital Songbook
I play modern songs on the piano, and learned how to play piano with a chord based approach (I have reviews on some awesome online piano training courses I took here) so this app is FANTASTIC for me! Before I found this app, I would look up chords for a song on Ultimate Guitar (just like this app does!), print them out, scrawl notes all over them and TRY to keep them organized, but for the most part they are in a big messy pile. And when I go to play the sheets (when I can find them) they often slide off my music rest etc.
Now, with SongBookPro, I’m doing the exact same thing only it’s way easier – looking up chords and adding notes to them, except now they’re perfectly organized in one place (my iPad that spends 99% of its time on my music rest above my piano), and the songs are easy to find, and then there is no manual flipping of paper because the song scrolls with me as I play! And if I ever wanted to return to my messy paper, I could always print out my SongBook from the app (but I’m liking the “no paper” option).
I also used to play bass in bands when I was young, so I can totally see how useful the set list functionality of SongBookPro would be. Even if you’re not a gigging musician, it’s still something you can use to organize your library even further.
So given the super inexpensive cost, I can’t recommend this app enough! If you need a way to organize your music, you need to give this app a try!
Where Do I Get The App & More Info?
The best place to go for that is the source! Click the logo below to go to the developer’s site for the most current information, for current pricing & for links to app stores etc. Or if you like, you can just search in your app store for SongBookPro (just make sure you get the right one – as I mention in my video review above, there are multiple apps with the same or similar names). And on that note (get it? “note”? 😉 ) I did try a couple of other similar digital songbook apps (that I won’t bother naming here) and they were nowhere near as useful (at least for me) as SongBookPro.
New Cool Feature – Backing Tracks!
SongBook Pro now has a backing track feature! You can listen to a backing track from your music library or even a track from Spotify while you play along with your SongBook Pro chord chart!
Version 1 – Backing Tracks With Spotify or your iTunes Library
Check out the first version of this feature in this video:
Version 2 – Added Use of Files App (AWESOME!!!)
Check out the improved version of this feature that no longer requires you to use iTunes in this video:
So give this app a try; if you have any questions please feel free to contact me!