6 Great Sheet Music Apps that All Musicians Should Try Out
About the author
Clara Avrillier was introduced to music from a young age, firstly singing in choirs, then playing percussion in several orchestras before going on to study piano and classical music in Scotland. Following a master’s degree in linguistics, she now brings together her musical and language skills to accompany you on your journey with Tomplay.
6 Great Sheet Music Apps that All Musicians Should Try Out
With the development of technology and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of our life are becoming increasingly digital, and that includes music. Gone are the days of bundles of sheet music stacked around the house, messy annotations, and rubber marks. Nowadays, there are many sheet music apps and sheet music reader apps available on the market to help you to play, learn, and organise your music better!
In this article, we look at six sheet music apps, what they have to offer and the advantages and disadvantages of each one. So let’s dive right in!
No surprise for the first app…Tomplay of course! The Tomplay sheet music app is available for iPad, iPhone, Android, PC and Mac and offers a vast catalogue of over 40,000 sheet music titles for 25 instruments, from classical music to pop/rock and jazz pieces. Sheet music titles are arranged in various difficulty levels. They also contain accompaniment tracks recorded by professional musicians, so you can play along with an orchestra or ensemble from the comfort of your own home!
The Tomplay sheet music app also offers a variety of features that help with learning. For example, you can adjust the tempo to suit your level, record yourself and listen back to your performance, practise passages in a loop, or use the visual aid if you can’t read music perfectly.
Easy-to-use and attractive interface
Interactive features: the sheet music scrolls automatically, you can add annotations, change the tempo, and record yourself.
Accompaniments: the backing tracks and orchestral accompaniments are recorded by professional musicians and offer excellent sound quality.
Wide range of instruments and musical genres
Most pieces have arrangements in several levels of difficulty so they are accessible to everyone.
Teachers/students can share pieces, annotations and recordings.
Bands and ensembles feature: Ideal if you play in a group or teach an ensemble.
You can download the scores, use them offline, and print them.
14-day free trial - you can try before you buy!
Available on all devices
Some pieces are only available for one or two instruments.
Transposition feature only available for certain pieces, not all of them.
forScore is a sheet music reader app exclusively designed for iOS devices. It was launched in 2010, at the same time as the first ever iPad, so the technology it offers has developed alongside the evolution of the iPad, making it the perfect buddy for your Apple tech. You no longer have to carry folders of sheet music around to every performance - forScore is essentially a PDF reader designed for musicians to enable them to collect and organise all their sheet music in one place, as well as annotate their music in detail.
Organise your music by setlist, composer, tags, labels and much more
Great options for professional musicians, such as creating setlists and choosing the order you want (alphabetical, shuffle, ‘fresh’ - it displays pieces you haven’t practised in a while).
Wide variety of annotation options (symbols, colours, sizes), as well as the ability to copy/paste and highlight
Excellent score metadata: key of the piece, length, artist, rating, difficulty, etc.
PDF options: You can import music you buy from Musicnotes (a sheet music shop) or scan paper PDF music.
Practice tools such as an on-screen piano, tuner, and metronome
The sharing feature is great for sharing notes with other musicians.
It is a one-time purchase of €19.99, and you get free updates for life.
No free trial
Exclusively for iOS, not available for Android
Some organisational limits: if you add an entire book of songs, you have to manually bookmark each song in order to jump directly to it, which can be a tedious task.
It is a sheet music reader app, so it lacks some features like the option to change the key of a piece.
The next music sheet app we would like to highlight is MuseScore, which is primarily a music notation app for iPad, iPhone, Android, PC and Mac. The best thing about it is that it’s free (and open source). MuseScore also offers a vast music library from its sheet music site musescore.com (the notation element is musescore.org). The library includes both official scores and user-made music.
The app is free.
Vast music library (around 1.4 million scores!)
You can compose music and share it with the community for feedback/pointers.
You can customize the workspace notation element to create a toolbar which works for you.
Many supported file formats for import and export
The community: MuseScore is open source so anyone can contribute to it, which means regular updates and music scores added.
Limited options with the mobile app: for example, you cannot notate a piece via the app.
In the music library, the majority of scores are written by users so quality can be an issue.
The playback quality of scores is not great.
Although it is free, you do need to subscribe if you want access to all the features on offer.
The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP), also known as the Petrucci Music Library, is a digital library sheet music app for public domain music, i.e., music which is no longer copyrighted, so mainly classical music. The project began in 2006 and its main aim is to make public-domain music accessible online for free. It is available for both iOS and Android.
It currently has over 630,000 sheet music titles and 72,000 recordings.
It’s free (although if you pay a monthly subscription, it removes ads and gives you instant access to scores without having to wait several seconds).
It’s a fantastic resource for classical musicians, and you can filter by instrument, composer, time period, and more.
Many scores are available in various editions, including first editions.
IMSLP mainly offers PDF scores for download, there is no access to any interactive learning features.
Only non-copyrighted music - you won’t find any pop/rock music in the library.
Piascoreis a free sheet music reader app, available for iOS devices including the iPhone and iPad. This app enables you to carry your sheet music wherever you go, download sheet music, notate it, and organise it as you wish.
Some of the best features include Cloud Play, which offers access to the IMSLP library with thousands of free sheet music titles. You can also connect your account to Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud so you can sync your PDF scores. Likewise, you can sync your account with iTunes, or scan in PDF scores via the camera capture feature.
Once you’ve added your scores, you can organise your music using tags or setlists. The note-taking features include text, highlights and musical symbols. Practice tools such as a metronome and tuner are also available.
Fun fact! On certain iphones, you can turn the page of a piece of sheet music in Piascore by winking or shaking your head, although sadly it doesn’t always work.
The interface is easy to use and the app provides great guides on how to use the features.
Helpful tools such as automatic scrolling, annotation tools and practice tools (on-screen keyboard, tuner, metronome).
You can organise your music into setlists or using tags.
The app links to IMSLP for sheet music downloads, which is an incredibly vast music library, plus its own Pia store. You can also scan PDF music into the app or via iCloud.
Only available on iOS
The annotation features are limited.
Some of the design is a little dated, such as the metronome - the app displays a large mechanical metronome in the middle of the page which blocks the music.
The app is free but there are several features which require in-app purchases, such as access to the recording tool and the on-screen keyboard.
Yousician is a different sheet music app from the others. It is essentially an interactive learning app that teaches you how to play the pieces while providing feedback on your performance.
It is currently available for piano, guitar, bass, ukulele and voice. When you first log in, you choose your instrument and skill level. Each instrument has a number of levels, which are broken down into themes. The themes include song videos, where you play along with the onscreen instrument, and knowledge exercises, which pertain to music theory. The app also provides missions for you to complete, which help you to unlock new tasks. The format is almost game-like, so it’s a really great way to get started on an instrument. This music app is available for iPad, iPhone, Android, PC and Mac.
Great app for beginners thanks to the informative lesson plans and tutorials.
Very well-organised to help you learn. Instead of trawling through the many online resources, Yousician provides music lessons in an easy and digestible package.
Live feedback! The software evaluates your performance and will provide feedback about your pitch, rhythm, tempo, and other factors.
Tailor made for learning - it offers goal trackers, performance statistics and reminders.
It’s an ideal music app if you don’t have the budget to hire a teacher or if you’d like to try out an instrument before investing in lessons with a teacher.
Free trial available
Limited instrument range: The app is currently available for piano, guitar, bass, ukulele and voice.
It’s not really designed for players of an intermediate level and above. Once you get to grips with your instrument, the Yousician lessons can seem a bit boring, repetitive and restrictive.
Some people may not like the fact that instead of feedback from a music teacher, the feedback is provided by the app, so it’s less accurate and provides no human interaction.
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