We are incredibly fortunate working in the music industry, as it is an ever evolving ecosphere whereby innovation is always at the forefront, blending technology with tradition to create something truly spectacular. Every so often, we come across such an innovation that truly takes our breath away and we believe genuinely has the power to transform the way the world interacts with music.
Today we want to discuss such an innovation and sit down with the founder and developer Anthony Wilkes to learn more about Playscore 2, an application that uses optical music recognition technology to open up a world of possibilities for players of all instruments and abilities.
For those looking for an app to help with your practice, act as an accompanying player or to help you scan music directly into a music editor, look no further!
About Playscore 2:
PlayScore 2 is a full notation music recognition app for IOS and Android phones and tablets that allows you to scan and play all kinds of music directly from an image. This may sound rather complicated at first, but thanks to some fantastic user friendly interface, all one needs to do is take or upload a photo of any piece of sheet music via the app and Playscore 2 will automatically scan the piece, detect the notes and be able to play the piece back to you with ease and accuracy.
Meet The Creator:
But how did the idea come around and why do we believe there is a fantastic opportunity here? Anthony explains Playscore 2’s origins and how the technology behind it first came around.
For a decade before Playscore even came around, I had been working on optical music recognition technology. It was something I spotted in the mid 2000s and as apps became more popular I saw an opportunity that could have a lot of advantages for musicians as there was nothing quite like it on the market.
I remember thinking that it would be great to have an app that would let you take a picture of a piece of music and play the music back to you. Of course when it came to developing that idea, that’s easier said than done, but we did eventually figure it out and published the first Playscore in 2015.
As soon as it was published, we got plenty of requests from people asking for more features and functionality, such as the ability to scan more pages, scan pdf files and separate individual parts of a composition, so that was the catalyst for creating Playscore 2, where my brother in law did the user interface and I did the back end coding and engine development, which is what we still do today.”
Who Is Playscore 2 For?
The particularly unique thing about Playscore 2, and why we at Millers have found this app so fascinating is its versatility and approach to help assist almost any musician, regardless of which instrument you play or your playing ability, it feels as though anyone can find a use for Playscore 2.
The first big group of users when it comes to Playscore are those who use it as a tool to enhance their learning. For example if you want to hear what something sounds like before trying the piece for yourself, or if you can’t read a particular passage and need to hear it first to understand it, then Playscore will allow you to follow along with the notation and show you how it should sound.
Another fantastic use of the app is to be able to break down music into easy to digest components. For example, in the app, after snapping your music, you can also isolate particular parts of the music, for example if you are a pianist, maybe you want to play the right hand whilst the app plays the left hand for you. Anthony explains how this functionality also makes playing fantastic for ensembles or those who play in groups with other musicians.
“If you play the flute and you want to have a piano accompaniment for a piece of chamber music you are learning, the app can do that for you. For example, I’m a cellist and I haven’t exactly always got a pianist to hand, so all I need to do is snap the piano music that accompanies my cello and the app will play the selected part of the piece. It is fantastic for helping you see how the two parts come together.”
Another large group that Playscore are particularly keen to focus on is singers and choirs in particular. It is believed that in North America alone for example there are around 40 million singers and choral societies.
When it comes to getting a choir to practise, traditionally, choir directors used to have a pretty big task of putting together a tape or MIDI file for their choir, who very often can't read sheet music. From here, they will have to send the file around to the group and then when they come back and practice, hopefully everyone has learned their part by ear. But in Playscore 2, instead of having to create individual files, the choir director can just snap his music and then the user can pull out their individual part and play it louder than the others. This helps make learning music incredibly easy for those who can’t read music to still get started learning.
Anthony also explains how he is looking to help further support choir directors:
“We were particularly conscious of making a special feature for this for the choir directors as if you make SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone) parts for people, as a director you pay a subscription for that, but the player doesn’t need a subscription, they can play back any of their parts or what the director gives them. It’s essentially just one subscription per choir.”
The final big group for those using Playscore 2 is those who use music editors like Dorico, Sibelius or Musescore where you need to input music XML files into a software. On Playscore 2, all you need to do is take a picture of the music or a pdf and out comes the XML file that can go straight into a music editor or notation app and it's there ready to edit, saving endless amounts of time instead of having to transcribe music.
Plans For The Future
As you can expect with such a complex and sophisticated bit of coding and development, Playscore 2 is all about innovation and helping reach as many musicians as possible, helping various needs and requirements.
Over the next few years, Playscore 2 is set to undergo a number of further innovations. As well as already being available on IOS and Android, they are currently in the process of also creating a PC version of the app as well introducing further functionality and features such as a metronome that counts with the piece and is able to adapt to changes in time signatures.
At Millers, we personally can’t get enough of Playscore 2 and are actively recommending it to all those who visit our showroom to try and incorporate it into their learning or practice. We’d like to thank Anthony and the Playscore team for not only helping support learning, but creating an app that can truly revolutionise the music learning experience.
To learn more about Playscore 2, visit their website or download the app via the Apple Store, Google Play or anywhere you get your apps.