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March 31, 2015

StaffPad and Surface: the most natural and fluid way to write music digitally

Almost every great symphony, platinum hit, and song lyric came into the world when it was scribbled down on a napkin or piece of paper. There’s something about the natural act of writing down ideas with a pen that helps us understand the way we think.

We’ve grown accustomed to the fact that writing music on a computer is a complex and painful experience used almost solely by the pros. Most all music we hear today is written with a keyboard and mouse on a laptop or desktop rather than with pen and paper. Musicians, composers, teachers, and students alike have told us that nothing about writing music with a keyboard and mouse inspires creativity. It’s difficult to think creatively when you’re bound to a desk, sitting in the same place you normally sit in to type notes into a computer with a keyboard. Today, that all changes.

We’re excited and humbled to acknowledge the launch of StaffPad, a new class of music notation app that was inspired by Surface and designed specifically for Surface because of the power of the Surface Pen.


StaffPad evolves the natural process of writing with pen and paper that’s been used for hundreds of years to write countless masterpieces. It brings together the best of working on paper with the best of working digitally to create an experience that’s creative and magical, but also powerful, professional, and intuitive.

As you scribble down notes using the Surface Pen, StaffPad recognizes your handwritten music and instantly converts it into a beautifully typeset score which you can further edit, playback, print, and share. Natural pen input, detailed orchestral playback, and powerful score editing mean StaffPad is perfect for professionals. An interactive tutorial and a variety of training videos built right into the app help make writing music accessible for the rest of us.

Whether you write, teach, or play music for a living, have ever played an instrument, or sang in a choir or rock band, or have ever dreamed of doing any one of these things, StaffPad and Surface allow you to write music naturally anywhere inspiration strikes – in the attic, on the subway, in the park, and in the studio. We really believe that the combination of StaffPad and Surface will transform the way music is inspired and created.

Download StaffPad on your Surface Pro 3 today – it’s available exclusively on the Windows Store. It’s another great example of how the Surface Pen will transform the way you work and create.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, but more importantly, I can’t wait to see what you create with StaffPad and Surface. Show me and the team your creations via @stpitts and @surface (#SurfacePen).

Stuart Pitts

Product Marketing Manager, Surface Team