computers · Sibelius

Working with Sibelius – a new number pad

A company called Mobee Technology has created a unique (at least I think so) product useful to anyone who uses a MacBook, or who purchased an iMac with the Apple Wireless Keyboard instead of the USB version. If you have an Apple Magic Trackpad (an option with the iMac instead of the Apple Magic Mouse), the Magic NumPad transforms it into a numeric keypad using a small application that runs in the background. The number pad is printed on a plastic overlay that adheres to the surface of the trackpad. It is completely smooth and it does not interfere with the regular use of the trackpad in any way. The numpad function can be easily turned on and off in the menu bar.

There are three configurations – two include virtual buttons that are user-programmable:

The basic number pad layout.
Extended layout, with a programmable button on the upper left.
The third keypad version, with more programmable buttons.

Using Sibelius without a numeric keypad is difficult if you are used to selecting durations, articulations, and other symbols using the keypad layouts – and I’m not quite sure how you would work with Sibelius without them. (I tend to enter pitch using the regular keyboard with the left hand, and durations with the right on the numeric keypad. I have a fair degree of speed that way now.) I’ve purchased several USB number pads, most of which did not work 100% with the Sibelius key assignments, and one bluetooth number pad that works pretty well. I’ve also used apps for both the iPhone and the iPad, but the battery drain is usually too high for extended use without using a charger or plugging it into the laptop. However, if you already have an Apple Magic Trackpad, for less than thirty dollars you can turn it into a very usable number pad with this product. When you don’t need to use the number functions it can instantly switch to the usual trackpad features. Granted, the laptop already has a trackpad built-in, but the Magic Trackpad is larger. I bought mine for use with my Mac Pro, but taking it along when I travel so I can work more easily with Sibelius is a no-brainer.

I don’t know how many people have purchased iMacs with the Apple Wireless Keyboard instead of a wired keyboard, but it seems to be the default on the Apple store page. Mobee also makes products to wirelessly charge the Apple Magic Mouse and the Wireless Keyboard, and a rechargeable battery pack for the Magic Trackpad. I’ve not tried their other products since I usually use the wired Apple Keyboard and a Kensington trackball with the Mac Pro, but I am very pleased with the Numpad and I can certainly recommend it.

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