PlayScore 2

Sheet Music Scanning App

Play Score 2 for Apple and Android devices – simply is a great technology to help people practice music.

The basic feature of this technology is that through the app you can take images of sheet music and play them back. You might say that with digital music these days it is as easy to find a recording with one of the streaming apps, but cleverly Playscore 2 takes in all the notes and information so that you play back the music in parts.

Take a photo of your violin concerto score or download it from a digital sheet music provider like IMSLP, and you can then play your part along with the orchestra (i.e., without the solo violin part playing back). Imagine you are practicing for a performance or concert and you could play along with the piano accompaniment with a quick photo of the score.

The current customers of this unique software are generally those running choirs; it is easy for the members of the choir to sing their part along to the other parts in practice at home, and music teachers who can offer the software to their pupils. There are currently over 100,000 users, mainly across the UK and USA.

The technology was set up and created by a company in Oxford who have developed a unique technology of optical music recognition over the last 10 years. The company is called Organum Ltd and specialises in printed and handwritten optical recognition. Its founder Anthony Wilkes created the handwritten music recognition engine in the popular NotateMe app and the PhotoScore application from Neuratron.

"It can work with any printed music at all – just open the app, take a photo using the app’s camera icon and it will automatically load and then play it back at whatever tempo you decide to set it at!"

We speak to the team that created the technology to find out more!

So how does PlayScore 2 work and how is it different to other music scanning technologies?

PlayScore uses an amazing technology called Optical Music Recognition (OCR for music), which decodes the music notation on your device, sight reads the music and plays it back naturally and musically. This means that the app can play back any printed music, straight from a photo or PDF score, following it on screen as it plays with full articulation and dynamics.
This is what makes PlayScore totally different! It’s the only product of its kind on the sheet music reading app market to use OMR in this way.

What do you think are the main benefits for music teachers and performers?

PlayScore 2 is great for music teachers because students can hear assignments at home as they should sound, whatever the instrument. They can also use PlayScore 2 as an accompanist to their voice or solo instrument.

The app is also very useful for music practice. Students can tap on any measure to play the music from that point, loud or soft, fast or slow. The Staves screen lets you mute or adjust the volume of each part individually, allowing you to play just your part, or with the others in the background. You can transpose the music to another key and choose from 18 instruments for each part separately.

When you share a PlayScore 2 playing score with your students, they can use all the part-separated playback features free. They can tap-to-play, speed the music up, slow it down, create loops etc., all using our free download.

Finally, PlayScore 2 is perfect for teaching music theory. Beginning with Associated Board Grade I right up to Grade VIII. Just snap any music exercise for students to check pitch and rhythm in their own study time. PlayScore 2 will pick out musical examples from a book, so you can play back exercises, stopping and starting as you go.

What has been the feedback or reviews so far of PlayScore 2?

Well perhaps if I just share a few of the reviews we have had so far:

Take a picture of the score and the app will play it for you – with all the dynamics in place – at a tempo and instrumentation of your choosing. As well as being fun to play with, this part of app reminded me (with some nostalgia) of an up-to-date version of the play-along Music Minus One recording. But it is vital that the quality of your original scan is high enough to get the best playback results. You can access scores directly from ISMLP (International Music Score Library Project), or by exporting and sending them to PlayScore 2. I was bowled over by the ability to change a score’s instrumentation for a completely different playback, which I did with a string quartet. Totally brilliant. PlayScore 2 is a great musical tool that behaves more like a musical spreadsheet. This means it is perfect for sharing marked-up parts with others. Whether you are a choirmaster, conductor, or orchestral manager, it is a real time-saver, and I can see many ways that this app could be indispensable. Rating 9/10
BBC Music Magazine, Sept 2020

When I was a little choirboy, I used to dream that the notes on the pages would somehow play themselves for me and I would not have to figure out how the music was supposed to sound. It has taken a long time but my dream, and I am sure many other people’s, has come true.
The free app Playscore 2 does just that. You can snap a score with your camera and with the latest optical music recognition software it will play the lines of music back to you. It can work with any printed music at all – just open the app, take a photo using the app’s camera icon and it will automatically load and then play it back at whatever tempo you decide to set it at!
The music play back is indicated with a red line that scrolls bar by bar. You can easily change the tempo, which may help with learning a piece slowly before speeding things up. There are transposing features and loop options. If you decide to go further and upgrade to the full, paid version, you can even export the file as a MusicXML file and open it in other notation programs such as Dorico or Sibelius.
Making Music Magazine
You can see other reviews at https://www.playscore.co/reviews/

What are the next plans for Playscore 2?

PlayScore 2 has been on iPhones and iPads for a couple of years and we have been improving it constantly since then. We released a version for Android at the end of last year, and with music fully interchangeable between the two platforms.

Later this year we are planning to add support for percussion and drum notation, and for people using our MusicXML export feature we are adding support for text and lyrics.

PlayScore 2 will read most music, but we are working all the time to improve the accuracy. Whether you use the free app or you take out a subscription, improvements and new features come absolutely free.

Find out more at PlayScore 2